A senior U.S. official told the Washington Post, speaking on condition of anonymity, that U.S. intelligence believes several Chinese companies are providing restricted materials and technology to Tehran’s military programs. According to the official, several Chinese banks have been involved in such activities with Iran, before and after the latest round of UN sanctions.
“China now is the only country with a major oil and gas industry that’s prepared to deal with Iran,” the U.S. official said. “Everyone else has pulled out. They stand alone.”
China has denied that it allows its firms to help Iran develop its nuclear program, and on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said China is enforcing the sanctions against Iran, and that it has fulfilled its international obligations.
With Iran poised to take the influential post of presidency of the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (opec) in 2011, oil-thirsty China has more reason than ever to seek good terms with Tehran, even if it’s at the expense of Beijing’s relationship with Washington.
As China’s drive for resources surges on, Beijing will be less and less concerned about abiding by the agendas of Western nations. •