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China investment in Iran worries US

Washington is worried that Iran continues to attract investment from China despite a new round of UN Security Council sanctions imposed on Tehran, a US official says.

Chinese companies were “aggressive” in investing in Iran’s oil and gas fields, Joseph Christoff, head of the Government Accountability Office’s international affairs and trade department, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday.

Christoff says international and unilateral sanctions were “not changing their (the Chinese) behavior” toward Iran.

Addressing the same panel, another official said that the US will press China to abide by international sanctions on Iran.

“China is of concern to us,” AFP quoted Robert Einhorn, special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control at the State Department, as saying on Thursday. “We need for them to enforce the Security Council resolution,” he said.

Beijing should not “backfill” by doing business with Tehran while other countries are “distancing themselves from Iran,” Einhorn said.

The US and its Western allies accuse Iran of seeking a military nuclear program. Tehran rejects the charges, stressing that as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it will not forgo its right to peaceful nuclear technology.

The UN Security Council adopted a US-drafted sanctions resolution on June 9. Ever since the US, European Union, Australia, and Canada have adopted unilateral sanctions against Iran.

However, China and Russia, two permanent members of the UNSC, as well as many other countries say they would not abide by the unilateral sanctions.

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