JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The European Union and China condemned the decision to impose sanctions on countries that import Iranian oil by the United States. The decision was considered to complicate international efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, according to an official statement on Tuesday (04/23).

European Commission Spokesman Maja Kocijancic expressed regret over the US decision because the decision risked disrupting Iran’s nuclear agreement.

In May 2018, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement on the grounds that the pact did not stop Tehran’s efforts to develop missiles and disrupt the stability of the Middle East.

Ever since, the EU has put in place measures to avoid US sanctions against Iran, including continuing to open financial supply routes to Tehran and protect European businesses there.

The consequences of US policy have a major influence on the supply of oil from Iran’s oil importing countries, including China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey.

China, one of Iran’s biggest oil export markets, criticized the US decision to stop buying crude oil from Tehran or get sanctions.

“China opposes Washington’s unilateral sanctions outside its jurisdiction,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday (04/22). He said Beijing’s transactions with Iran were reasonable and legitimate.

China is still dependent on imports for about half of its oil. With that exception, China faces the toughest diplomatic challenge related to enforcement efforts against Trump’s government ambitions to reduce Iranian oil exports.

On the one side, Beijing has supported global efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons technology. However, on the other hand, Beijing rejected US unilateral actions and previously did not agree to link trade with Iran’s nuclear program.

Therefore, China will continue to protect the legal rights of Chinese-owned companies. The phrase does not indicate what might be done by China if Washington imposes its sanctions.

On Monday, Trump has decided to suspend sanctions starting May 2 for three allied countries, namely Japan, South Korea and Turkey, including China and India.

While three other countries – Italy, Greece and Taiwan – have agreed to US demands to stop buying Iranian oil.

Stopping the exclusion of sanctions for five countries that import Iranian oil is expected to put new pressure on Tehran to curb its military aggression in the Middle East by cutting off its main source of national income, according to official US officials.

Actually, with the relief, Iran’s oil exports have been cut quite a lot, which in March was only 1.68 million barrels/day, even in April it was still less than 1 million barrels/day.

Even before sanctions, Iran was the fourth largest oil producer among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with a capacity of nearly 3 million barrels/day.

As a result of these sanctions, global oil prices also increased on Tuesday (04/23) and the price will continue to soar.

Brent prices for the benchmark Asian and European markets, the June delivery contract rose 0.35 percent to US$74.3/barrel, the highest position since November 2018. The price of light sweet oil for the American market benchmark rose 0.14 percent to the position of $65.79/barrel.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: daniel@theinsiderstories.com