China rejects USA demand to reduce Iran oil imports

Persian Gulf Arabian Gulf

Persian Gulf Arabian Gulf

USA officials last week said Iran carried out a similar exercise, though Tehran did not immediately acknowledge it.

What's next for Iran oil?

With tensions high ahead of the return of U.S. sanctions on Tuesday, the government of President Hassan Rouhani also faces opposition from conservatives and religious leaders, who have long disliked his outreach to the West and accuse him of governing only for the rich. Their arrival means state carrier Iran Air has received 13 of the 20 it ordered from the French-Italian manufacturer in April 2017.

The AP reported that ATR has pushed the US for permission to send the final seven airplanes to Iran.

Following Trump's decision to quit the historic Iran nuclear pact on May 8, the United States vowed to reimpose sanctions lifted under the accord against Iran and inflict punishments like secondary sanctions on nations that have business links with Iran.

In May, Trump controversially pulled America out of the nuclear deal Obama agreed with Iran in 2015.

The snub could seriously undermine U.S. efforts to isolate Iran over the country's controversial nuclear programme.

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The nuclear deal with world powers would have allowed Iran to replace its entire domestic fleet although military aircraft were always prohibited.

The first phase hits on Tuesday with blocks on financial transactions and imports of raw materials, as well as sanctions on Iran's automotive sector and commercial aircraft purchases.

Fear over decreasing demand from China triggered a slow down on Friday, after the country's main oil producer Sinopec, trim down its purchase of U.S. crude.

Currently China is the world's top buyer of crude oil, including from Iran, making Chinese refusal to cooperate a major challenge to the US. The strait at the mouth of the Persian Gulf is crucial to global energy supplies as about a third of all oil traded at sea passes through it.

"This exercise was conducted with the aim of controlling and safeguarding the safety of the worldwide waterway and within the framework of the program of the Guards' annual military exercises", Guards spokesman Ramezan Sharif said, according to IRNA.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards confirmed on Sunday it had held war games in the Gulf over the past several days, saying they were aimed at "confronting possible threats" by enemies, the state news agency IRNA reported.

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