The financial news provider quoted two officials familiar with the negotiations as saying that the US had been unable to persuade China to cut Iranian oil imports and that Beijing’s purchases from Tehran last month remained unchanged.
This is a blow to US President Donald Trump’s efforts to isolate Iran after his withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal with the country, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), they said.
Beijing, however, agreed not to increase purchases of Iranian crude, said the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Teams of US officials have been visiting capitals around the world to try to choke off sales of Iranian oil by early November, when US sanctions are due to snap back into effect. While the Trump administration has said it wants to cut Iranian oil exports to zero by Nov. 4, most analysts viewed that target as unlikely.
Francis Fannon, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Energy Resources, was recently in China to discuss sanctions, according to a State Department spokesperson.
The Trump administration argued that the nuclear deal, which lifted some economic sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, was flawed because it didn’t address the country’s activities in the Middle East or limit its development of ballistic missiles. The other partners in the agreement, including the UK, France, Germany and Russia, criticized the US move to quit the deal.
China – the world’s top crude buyer and Iran’s No. 1 customer – has said previously that it opposed unilateral sanctions and lifted monthly oil imports from the country by 26 percent in July. It accounted for 35 percent of Iranian exports last month, according to ship-tracking data.
Tehran has said if it cannot sell its oil, other regional countries would not be able to do so either, triggering speculation that Tehran may block the Strait of Hormuz, through which many international oil cargoes pass.
US officials have softened their stance after initially saying they would press allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East to adhere to the sanctions and reduce their imports to zero. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month his country was open to consider waivers for certain buyers of Iranian oil.
Press TV contributed to this story.