Saturday, 26 September 2009

What should China do about Iran?

China is big in Iran and will almost certainly get bigger. This week's revelations on nuclear facilities, whilst not surprising in the slightest, do put China in a bit of a spot.

Mu view is that China will reject sanctions and cash in on the inability of the West to actually do anything. If tough sanctions are imposed and China ignores them it will massively undermine the West's efforts. China produces pretty much everything and its oil companies are expanding aggressively.

China has a huge amount to gain - hence the reluctance to play ball at the moment.

The result - I predict Western military involvement before long. Israel will be the catalyst in my opinion.

China signals opposition to Iran sanctions [FT]

China signalled its hostility to new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme on Thursday, even as western powers intensified their drive to increase pressure on Tehran.

A day after foreign ministers from the world’s big powers – including China itself – called on Tehran to deliver a “serious response” to their offer of negotiations over the nuclear programme, Beijing highlighted its misgivings on a tougher stance. “China always believes that sanctions and pressure should not be an option and will not be conducive to the current diplomatic efforts over the Iran nuclear issue,” said Jiang Yu, a foreign ministry spokeswoman.


In recent years, Iran has become one of China’s most important suppliers of crude oil and Chinese companies have announced large investments in Iran’s capital-hungry oil and gas sector. Oil traders said this week that China had begun selling large quantities of refined oil to Iran , despite a strong US push to block such imports.


In previous years, Russia and China have initially resisted UN sanctions resolutions against Tehran before finally agreeing to measures against Iranian banks and companies linked to missile and nuclear programmes.

At a meeting with Barack Obama, the US president, on Wednesday, however, President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia provided more explicit support, asserting that “in some cases sanctions are inevitable” but adding that “sanctions rarely lead to productive results”.


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