China frustrates U.S. efforts to end Iran's oil exports

Protesters in Iran attack seminary, break windows

The spokesperson then pointed to the global anger at the USA and Washington's policies towards its age-old allies, saying, "There is indication even in the Persian Gulf littoral states that there are concerns about Trump's policies, because they have the feeling that Trump is only seeking to empty their pockets".

The rhetoric between the US and Iran remains heated, despite Trump tweeting last week that he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

China imports more Iranian oil than any other country.

Senior Iranian officials have warned the country would not easily yield to a renewed USA campaign to strangle Iran's vital oil exports.

Repeating the pattern of past weeks, crude prices on Friday ended the week down by 0.4 percent for West Texas Intermediate and 1.5 percent for Brent, this time in reaction to China state oil major Sinopec cutting its purchases of USA product due to the trade spat between both countries.

Francis Fannon, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Energy Resources, was recently in China to discuss sanctions, according to a State Department spokesperson.

Last month, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed President Hassan Rouhani's suggestion that Iran may block Gulf oil exports if its own exports are stopped.

The nuclear deal with world powers would have allowed Iran to replace its aging commercial fleet.

Washington imposed a series of additional sanctions on Iranian entities and individuals, as well as foreign companies in Iran, squeezing Iran economically.

Oil traders had anticipated that sanctions would take Iranian barrels off the market, said Rob Haworth, who helps oversee US$151 billion at US Bank Wealth Management in Seattle.

Trump has ordered US sanctions on Tehran, while a senior State Department official said Washington has told allies to cut imports of Iranian oil by November.

Tehran has said if it can not sell its oil, other regional countries would not be able to do so neither, triggering speculation that Tehran may block the Strait of Hormuz, through which many worldwide oil cargoes pass. USA officials last week said Iran carried out a similar exercise, though Tehran did not immediately acknowledge it.

The U.S., which withdrew from the nuclear deal in May, will re-impose some sanctions on Iran starting Monday.

"China will continue to cooperate with Iran adhering to its worldwide obligations". This accounted for 35 percent of Iranian exports last month, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

HPCL, for example, will not be buying oil from Iran in August, chairman M. K. Surana told Reuters earlier this week, but did not elaborate on whether the refiner would resume importing Iranian oil after that.

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