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    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shake hands at the conclusion of their joint press conference at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016

    US Sanctions to Have Negligible Effect on Chinese-Iranian Ties

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    The United States has imposed a new round of sanctions related to Iran’s missile development program. In particular, restrictions were imposed against businessman Ruan Runling and such companies as Shanghai Gang Quan Trade, Shanghai North Begins International and Shanghai North Transway International Trading.

    The US Treasury Department said that the sanctions companies provided assistance for a key Iranian defense company while Ruan Runling provided Tehran with ballistic missile technologies.

    The first US sanctions against Chinese entities under President Donald Trump were imposed in early-February, including two companies and three individuals.

    Beijing has responded to Washington with a formal diplomatic protest, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday.

    "We have already made a representation to the US side in relation to this. We hope that the United States will resolve via dialogue and cooperation the concerns linked to the issue of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons on the basis of the principles of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefits," Hua told a briefing.

    In this Jan. 15, 2011 file photo, Iran's heavy water nuclear facility is backdropped by mountains near the central city of Arak, Iran
    © AP Photo/ ISNA, Hamid Foroutan, File
    The message of these sanctions is clearly political, including bringing up the Iranian matter in US diplomacy, according to Irina Fedorova, an expert of the Institute for Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    According to her, the measure will not have a significant impact on trade and business ties between Beijing and Tehran.

    "It is a very insignificant move because Iran-China trade is $40 billion, unprecedented for bilateral ties. In 10 years, China and Iran plan to increase their trade ties to $600 billion. In this context, the latest US sanctions are unlikely to have an effect. In fact, they indicate that Washington does not like the situation. To some extent, its attitude is both anti-Chinese and anti-Iranian," Fedorova told Sputnik China.

    According to Ji Kaiyun, an expert at the Center for Iranian Studies at the Chinese Southwest University, Iran is being increasingly involved in the global economic orbit and Washington’s influence on Tehran is decreasing.

    "The US uses these sanctions to create more problems for Iran. At the same time, Washington is mounting pressure on Beijing in a bid to restrict its policy in Iran. China plays a constructive role in the Middle East while the actions of the US have seriously destabilized the region in recent two decades," the expert said.

    In April, Trump ordered a review of the final agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. Foreign Policy later reported that Washington was considering several options to toughen sanctions to force Tehran to fulfill its obligations under the deal.

    On Wednesday, the State Department said the Trump administration had decided to stick with the nuclear deal reached with Iran by his predecessor Barack Obama and extended the sanctions waiver.

    According to Fedorova, there is a distinctive tactic in Washington’s policy towards Tehran.

    "There are several proposals in Senate to toughen sanctions against Iran. However, they have been temporarily put on the backburner, prior to the presidential election in Iran. The US wants to minimize the chances of a conservative candidate against the reformists. Currently, Washington is trying to prevent a rise in anti-Americanism in Iran. At the same time, the US demonstrated its stance towards Chinese-Iranian ties," she said.


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    cooperation, sanctions, Iran nuclear deal, Donald Trump, China, Iran, United States
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