BEIJING - China's top newspaper on Thursday slammed US moves to restrict Iran's oil trade which could see Chinese banks sanctioned, saying such unilateral action was not only wrong but could exacerbate the stand-off over Iran's nuclear program.
The United States has exempted Japan and 10 EU nations from financial sanctions because they have significantly cut purchases of Iranian oil, but Iran's top customers China and India remain at risk.
The decision means banks in the 11 countries have been given a six-month reprieve from the threat of being cut off from the US financial system under the new sanctions designed to pressure Iran over a nuclear program the West suspects is aimed at producing weapons. Iran says it merely intends to boost electricity output.
The People's Daily, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party, said in a commentary that the US move was misguided and selfish and China had every right to import oil from Iran.
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