China opposes unilateral sanctions against Iran

China has reiterated its opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran.

Updated: Jul 01, 2012, 20:32 PM IST

Beijing: China has reiterated its opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran.

The Chinese foreign ministry expressed the country`s opposition again after Washington exempted China and Singapore from sanctions over purchasing oil from Iran, reported China Daily.

"Beijing is always opposed to one country`s unilateral sanctions against another country on the basis of its domestic law. It is even less acceptable for such unilateral sanctions to be imposed on a third country," said foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

Hong made the remarks at a news briefing in response to the decision by the US State Department.

The spokesperson said China`s import of crude oil from Iran through normal channels was meant to meet its economical development needs.

The import "is completely legitimate and justified", Hong added.

"This does not violate any UN Security Council resolutions or undermine the interests of a third party or the international community," said Hong.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday announced Washington`s decision to exempt China and Singapore from sanctions over imports of Iranian oil because the two countries reduced oil purchases from Iran significantly, Xinhua reported.

Washington exempted 10 members of the European Union and Japan in March and another seven economies - India, Malaysia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan - in early June.

US President Barack Obama is keen to persuade all countries around the world to join the US in sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program because Obama is under pressure in his re-election campaign, analysts said.

The UN Security Council imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran between 2006 and 2010 for refusing to halt its nuclear enrichment programme, which, the US and its allies suspect, is being used to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran insists that its nuclear programme is for civilian use only.