China decries EU sanctions on Tehran

Beijing calls recently announced sanctions targeting Iran's central bank, oil industry "not constructive."

An Iranian oil worker 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
An Iranian oil worker 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
China said Thursday that EU sanctions on Iran are "not constructive," AFP quoted Chinese media sources as saying.
"To blindly pressure and impose sanctions on Iran are not constructive approaches," Beijing's foreign ministry said.
On Monday, the European Union announced new sanctions on Iran which it hopes will deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear program. The sanctions, targeting Iran's vital oil exports and its central bank, will come into full effect by July 1.
Monday's announcement places the EU and the United States on a unified path aimed at damaging the Iranian economy to force Tehran's compliance with the international community. Sanctions by the two have already hit the Iranian currency; the rial has been steadily losing value against the dollar, prompting extreme intervention measures by Tehran's central bank.

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China is Iran's top trading partner, and has consistently opposed the use of sanctions against Tehran. According to AFP, bilateral ties between the two countries have expanded in recent years, partly thanks to the withdrawal of Western companies in line with sanctions against the Islamic republic.
In a recent trip to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao defended his country’s oil trade with Iran. Wen noted, nevertheless, that his country is opposed to Iran achieving nuclear weapons.
Reuters contributed to this report.