In a number of stories in China's top newspapers today, the US has been slammed for its moves to restrict Iran's oil trade which could see Chinese banks sanctioned. As The People's Daily noted, Hong Lei (a Foreign Ministry spokesperson) warned such unilateral action was not only wrong but could exacerbate the stand-off over Iran's nuclear program. Arguing that China 'imports oil based on its economic development needs' without violating relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and undermining the third party's and international community's interests, he noted China will not accept the practice of saddling unilateral sanctions on the third country. Adding to this, China Daily notes the typical UN blah-dom of Wang Min's comments of the "more pragmatic importance to be firmly committed to dialogue and negotiations in order to properly solve the Iranian nuclear issue". While China is clearly 'disappointed' in the US efforts, Russia turns the dial to 11 with its comments that the US efforts are inflaming, as Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday, "Scientists in nearly all countries....are convinced that strikes may slow down the Iranian nuclear program. But they will never cancel it, close it down or eliminate it" warning that Iran will have no option but to develop nuclear weapons should the US strike. Well you can't please all the people all the time eh? Just ask Ben.
MOSCOW - Strikes on Iran's nuclear sites may force it to develop nuclear weapons and trigger more risks to the non-proliferation regime, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.
"Scientists in nearly all countries....are convinced that strikes may slow down the Iranian nuclear program. But they will never cancel it, close it down or eliminate it," Lavrov said in an interview with the radio Kommersant FM.
He warned that Iran may have no option but to develop nuclear weapons in response to the strikes.
"Even the CIA and other US agencies admit now there is no information to confirm the political decision of the Iranian administration to produce nuclear weapons. I am almost confident that such a decision will be made after strikes on Iran," Lavrov said.
"Actually, this aggressiveness creates more risks to the non-proliferation regime than strengthens it," he said.
Russia has called for the resumption of negotiations between Iran and major mediators including Russia, US, France, Britain, China and Germany.
BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- China legally imports oil from Iran through normal channels in a reasonable and fair manner, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.
Spokesman Hong Lei said China imports oil based on its economic development needs without violating relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and undermining the third party's and international community's interests.
"China opposes any country implementing unilateral sanctions on the other country according to its domestic law," the spokesman said, adding that China will not accept the practice of saddling unilateral sanctions on the third country.
Hong made the remark at a daily press briefing when asked to comment on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's announcement on Iran sanctions.
Clinton issued a statement on Tuesday saying that the U.S. will initially exempt Japan and 10 European nations from its new tough sanctions on Iran, saying these countries have "significantly" reduced their oil imports from the Islamic republic, according to reports.
Clinton said she would report to Congress that sanctions will not apply to the financial institutions in these countries for a renewable period of 180 days.
The 10 European beneficiaries are Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.
Twelve countries including China, India and the Republic of Korea should reduce oil imports from Iran before the end of July or face sanctions, according to reports.