During Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to the Persian Gulf, he struck deals with a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, many of whom are worried by Iran’s nuclear ambitions. China, which has long been one of Iran’s only allies and a major customer for its oil exports, now seems to be turning its back on Tehran. From the Telegraph:
“China adamantly opposes Iran developing and possessing nuclear weapons,” [Wen] said.
China appears to have sent a message to Iran that it could not rely on Beijing’s unstinting support by reducing its imports of oil at a time when the US and Europe are promoting an embargo on the country.
The Washington Post reported that China trimmed its oil imports from Iran in January from a daily average of around 550,000 barrels to 285,000 barrels a day.
Chinese foreign policy experts said the statement demonstrated that Beijing would not allow its international position to end up beholden to Iran.