As the US seeks new ways to undermine the Syrian government, it’s now slapping even more sanctions on Damascus’ closest ally – Iran. President Obama’s given the all-clear to the toughest measures yet against the Islamic state’s oil industry. Washington will take punitive economic measures against any country that refuses to reduce imports of fuel from Iran. Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, researcher and writer talks to RT. She thinks America’s shooting itself in the foot by such sanctions.
China Rejects US Oil Import Sanctions
South Korean officials said they will continue working with the U.S. to reduce oil imports from Iran, as other U.S. allies who depend on Iranian oil worked to find alternative energy supplies.
Obama announced Friday that he is plowing ahead with the potential sanctions, which could affect U.S. allies in Asia and Europe, as part of a deepening campaign to starve Iran of money for its disputed nuclear program. The U.S. and allies believe that Iran is pursuing a nuclear bomb; Iran denies that.
China is one of the biggest importers of Iranian oil, and its Foreign Ministry reiterated its opposition to the U.S. moves.
“The Chinese side always opposes one country unilaterally imposing sanctions against another according to domestic law. Furthermore it does not accept the unilateral imposition of those sanctions on a third country,” the ministry said in a brief statement Saturday.
Beyond the rhetoric, Beijing has taken a two-pronged approach to the U.S. demands, insisting that China has the right to import oil from Iran or any other country while quietly reducing imports of Iranian oil. Though the government has not explained the reductions, oil traders and industry executives have said it may stem more from a pricing dispute with Iran than as a response to U.S. pressure.
Behind the scenes, Washington has repeatedly encouraged Beijing to seek supplies elsewhere, and Saudi Arabia offered to fill a shortfall when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Gulf countries early this year.
The looming U.S. sanctions aim to further isolate Iran’s central bank, which processes nearly all of the Iran’s oil purchases, from the global economy. Obama’s move clears the way for the U.S. to penalize foreign financial institutions that do oil business with Iran by barring them from having a U.S.-based affiliate or doing business here.