Iran refuses talks with United States under coercion

George McgeeAug 05, 2018

Tensions between Washington and Beijing show no signs of easing, with the Asian giant announcing Friday that it has prepared a list of US$60 billion worth of USA goods to hit with tariffs in retaliation for duties proposed by the Trump administration.

On Wednesday, U.S. officials told reporters the naval fleet of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is planning to use 100 gunboats in the Persian Gulf to practice "swarm" tactics, an exercise that is usually reserved for the fall.

But as the new Indian fiscal year began in April, refiners have been taking more Iranian oil imports compared to the previous fiscal year, as Iran offered incentives such as extended credit periods and nearly free shipping to keep its market share in India-Tehran's second-largest oil customer after China.

China has rejected a demand by the United States to cut Iranian oil imports, according to Bloomberg news agency, which cited two officials familiar with the negotiations.

The United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Russian Federation - the other signatories to the JCPOA - have criticized America's decision to quit the deal.

China - the world's top crude buyer and Iran's No. 1 customer - has said previously that it opposed unilateral sanctions and lifted monthly oil imports from the country by 26 percent in July.

Following Trump's decision to quit the historic Iran nuclear pact on May 8, the United States vowed to reimpose sanctions lifted under the accord against Iran and inflict punishments like secondary sanctions on nations that have business links with Iran.

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

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned the USA against any attempt to stop Tehran's oil trade, threatening to block the strategically important Strait of Hormuz. US officials last week said Iran carried out a similar exercise, though Tehran did not immediately acknowledge it.

This is a blow to US President Donald Trump's efforts to isolate Iran after his withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal with the country, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), they said. That's "caused investors to continue to trim net length, take profits and de-risk that position with the sense that oil's upside is limited unless there's material reduction in Iranian barrels". "China will continue to cooperate with Iran adhering to its global obligations", she added. It accounted for 35 percent the Iranian exports last month, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

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