China and Russia Confront U.S. for Sanctions on Iran

Both China and Russia didn’t agree with the U.S. decision to impose sanctions on countries that have trade with Iran. The condemnation doesn’t come as a surprise since both countries have close ties that they aren’t willing to forfeit, Newsweek reported.

President Donald Trump’s decision to dismiss the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran was faced with harsh criticism from European allies France, Germany and the U.K., as well as top rivals China and Russia.

According to Newsweek, the leading customer of Iranian oil, China, has been particularly vocal about its desire to continue to keep doing business with Iran, even as the first round of U.S. sanctions came into effect Monday.

“China has consistently opposed unilateral sanctions and long-armed jurisdiction,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wednesday in a statement faxed to Reuters.

“China’s commercial cooperation with Iran is open and transparent, reasonable, fair and lawful, not violating any United Nations Security Council resolutions,” it added. “China’s lawful rights should be protected.”

Meanwhile, China also sees big economic opportunities in Syria and will be Russia’s main competitor for the upcoming reconstruction of the war-torn country, Alexei Maslov, Head of the School of Oriental Studies at the Higher School of Economics said.

According to the expert, statements on Beijing’s willingness to step up its military presence in Syria should be considered with a certain degree of caution.

“China has been present there before the Syrian events, developing relations, for example, with the oil industry. When the civil war began, China was at a disadvantage. That’s why it is quite natural that the country is joining the Syrian operation now that the conflict is nearing completion. China, all else aside, will carry out humanitarian operations. In that case, China is likely to take part in restoring Syria’s infrastructure, for example, railways,” the analyst says.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has pointed out that Syria has “good relations” with countries like China and Russia while his ambassador to Beijing, Imad Moustapha, has said that because “China, Russia, and Iran have provided substantial support to Syria during the military conflict… [they] should play a major role in the reconstruction of Syria.”

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