Aug. 3 (UPI) — China, a member of the U.N. Security Council, said Friday it was willing to work to save a nuclear agreement that lets Iranian oil flow through the market.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a visit with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, that Beijing viewed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as a way to secure stability in the Middle East.
“China always holds the view that JCPOA is a multilateral deal which is verified and approved by the United Nations Security Council and accords the common interests of all parties and the international community, which must be respected and safeguarded so as to maintain the authority of the United Nations, the effectiveness of multilateral deals and the credibility of the international rules,” he was quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency as saying.
A decision by U.S. President Donald Trump in May to back out of the deal means U.S. sanctions will snap back into place later this month and in November. The Trump administration said it wanted Iran’s oil customers to stop imports by then.
The Chinese position comes as the debate over the Iranian deal butts up against tense U.S.-Chinese trade relations. The Trump administration this week said it would increase tariffs on China from 10 percent to 25 percent, prompting Beijing to say it wouldn’t be persuaded by economic blackmail.
China is Iran’s top oil importer. According to a Friday report from Bloomberg News, the Trump administration has been unsuccessful in persuading Beijing to back away from the Islamic republic, though it has agreed to keep its Iranian oil purchases static.
“The U.S. has been unable to persuade China to cut Iranian oil imports, according to two officials familiar with the negotiations, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump’s efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic after his withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord,” the report read.
From Iran, it said it would block off the Strait of Hormuz if it’s isolated from the global oil market. The waterway separating Iran and Oman hosts about 20 percent of the global trade in oil.
On Friday, Iran’s foreign minister took to Twitter to remind U.S. Navy forces that regional waterways were Iran’s home turf.
“Maybe it doesn’t know what it’s doing in our backyard, 7,000 miles from home,” he stated.