US sanctions over Iran oil will ‘intensify Mideast turmoil’: China

An Iranian tanker docks at the platform of the oil facility on Khark Island in the Arabian Gulf in this March 12, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 24 April 2019
0

US sanctions over Iran oil will ‘intensify Mideast turmoil’: China

  • Foreign ministry spokesman: US operating outside its jurisdiction in unilaterally imposing the sanctions
  • China is one of Iran’s biggest oil markets

BEIJING: Beijing on Tuesday again lashed out at a US decision to impose sanctions on countries that buy Iranian oil, calling it a violation of China’s interests that will intensify turmoil in the Middle East and international energy markets.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the US is operating outside its jurisdiction in unilaterally imposing the sanctions. He said normal interactions between Iran and other countries are “reasonable and lawful” and deserving of respect and protection.

“The relevant actions of the US will also intensify the turmoil in the Middle East and international energy market,” Geng said.

“We urge the US to play a constructive role in a responsible manner, instead of the other way around. In addition, we have already made complaints with the US on this matter,” he said.

Geng said China will work to safeguard its companies’ interests, reflecting its desire to secure foreign markets as it pursues its massive “Belt-and-Road” infrastructure initiative.

China is one of Iran’s biggest oil markets and was a strong backer of the agreement to lift sanctions in return for Iran curbing its nuclear weapons program that was scrapped by President Donald Trump.

The Trump administration said Monday that it will no longer exempt any countries from US sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil, stepping up pressure on Iran in a move that primarily affects the five remaining major importers.

Along with India and US treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, China was one of the countries primarily affected by the announcement.

Oil prices soared to their highest level since October on Tuesday.

The sanctions could potentially remove up to 1.2 million barrels of oil per day from international markets, according to industry experts. However, that number will likely be lower, depending on how countries respond and just how much oil Iran continues to export.


Turkey: EU sanctions over gas drilling ‘worthless’

Updated 16 July 2019
0

Turkey: EU sanctions over gas drilling ‘worthless’

  • EU foreign ministers said they are suspending talks with Turkey over air transport agreement
  • They backed EU’s proposal to decrease financial assistance to Turkey

ANKARA: Turkey on Tuesday rejected as “worthless” an initial set of sanctions approved by the European Union against Ankara, and vowed to send a new vessel to the eastern Mediterranean to reinforce its efforts to drill for hydrocarbons off the island of Cyprus.
EU foreign ministers on Monday approved sanctions against Turkey over its drilling for gas in waters where EU member Cyprus has exclusive economic rights. They said they were suspending talks on an air transport agreement, as well as high-level Turkey-EU dialogues, and would call on the European Investment Bank to review its lending to the country.
They also backed a proposal by the EU’s executive branch to reduce financial assistance to Turkey for next year. The ministers warned that additional “targeted measures” were being worked on to penalize Turkey, which started negotiations to join the EU in 2005.
Speaking at a news conference in Macedonia, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the sanctions aimed to “appease” Cyprus and were of “no importance.”
“The EU needs us concerning the migration issue or other issues,” he said. “They will come to us and hold contacts; there is no escaping that.”
“They know that the decisions they took cannot be applied,” he said. “They were forced to take the worthless decisions under pressure from the Greek Cypriots and Greece.”
Cavusoglu added: “If you take such decisions against Turkey, we will increase our activities. We have three ships in the eastern Mediterranean, will with send a fourth.”
Earlier, the Turkish Foreign Ministry criticized the EU for ignoring the rights of Turkish Cypriots and accused the 28-nation bloc of “prejudice and bias.”
It added that Turkey was determined to protect its rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots.
Two Turkish vessels escorted by warships are drilling for gas on either end of ethnically divided Cyprus. A third Turkish exploration ship is also in the area. Turkey insists that it has rights over certain offshore zones and that Turkish Cypriots have rights over others.
Cyprus was split along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded in the wake of a coup by supporters of union with Greece. A Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence is recognized only by Turkey, which keeps more than 35,000 troops in the breakaway north. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, but only the internationally recognized south enjoys full membership benefits.
Cypriot officials accuse Turkey of using the minority Turkish Cypriots in order to pursue its goal of exerting control over the eastern Mediterranean region.
The Cypriot government says it will take legal action against any oil and gas companies supporting Turkish vessels in any repeat attempt to drill for gas. Cyprus has already issued around 20 international arrest warrants against three international companies assisting one of the two Turkish vessels now drilling 68 kilometers off the island’s west coast.