China on Wednesday strongly criticized the United States for imposing fresh sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear program.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told reporters in Beijing that dialogue and negotiations – not sanctions – are the best way to ease tensions and resolve the dispute.
“China is against one country putting their domestic laws above international law and placing unilateral sanctions on another country.”
Hong acknowledged that China has what he called “regular, open and transparent economic and energy interactions with Iran” that do not violate U.N. Security Council resolutions and will not impair third party interests. Therefore, he said, such interactions should not be affected by the latest sanctions.
Last week, the United States imposed a new round of sanctions against financial institutions that deal with Iran's central bank. The move could affect Iran's ability to sell oil on international markets.
China – a key trading partner of Iran – has repeatedly insisted that Western sanctions against Tehran will make the situation more complicated and could hurt chances for peace and stability.
Iran is one of the world's largest producers of crude oil, and China is among its top customers.
Western nations have imposed increasingly tight sanctions against Iran, believing its nuclear program is aimed at building a nuclear weapon. Iran has rejected the accusations, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.