Iran asks Chinese oil buyers to maintain imports after U.S. sanctions
A senior official at Iran’s state-owned oil supplier met Chinese buyers this week to ask them to maintain imports after U.S. sanctions kick in, three people familiar with the matter said, but failed to secure guarantees from the world’s biggest consumer of Iranian oil, Reuters reported.
The sources told Reuters Saeed Khoshrou, director of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), held separate meetings in Beijing on Monday with top executives at Chinese oil giant Sinopec’s trading unit and state oil trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp to discuss oil supplies and seek assurances from the Chinese buyers.
Khoshrou was accompanying Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif in the first stop of a tour of world powers before traveling on to Europe. Tehran is mounting a last-ditch effort to save a 2015 nuclear deal that Washington has abandoned, with plans to impose unilateral sanctions including strict curbs on Iran’s oil exports.
“During the meeting, Mr. Khoshrou conveyed Mr. Zarif’s message that Iran hopes China will maintain the levels of imports,” said one person briefed on the meetings.
A second person with direct knowledge of the discussion, said Chinese firms “shared the same hope to maintain purchases”, adding companies are still assessing the possible impact of the new sanctions.