Treasury official visits China to discuss Iran sanctions
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 27 /Trend/
David Cohen, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, is set to visit Hong Kong and Beijing this week to discuss sanctions on Iran, The Wall Street Journal quoted the department as saying.
In meetings with senior Chinese officials and representatives of private companies, Cohen will push for greater cooperation in efforts to prevent Iran from financing its nuclear and weapons programs, Treasury said in a statement.
Cohen will emphasize in Hong Kong the need for shipping companies and exporters to closely control their business partners for ties to Iran's national maritime carrier, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, which has been lined to several violations of U.N. resolutions on Iran, the department said.
The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has denied the charges, saying its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity and producing isotopes to treat medical patients.
Iran's refusal to abandon its nuclear activities has resulted in resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 2010, as well as additional unilateral sanctions approved by the U.S. Congress and the foreign ministers of all EU countries, which were primarily directed against the banking, financial and energy sectors of Iran.
China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, opposed imposing the new restrictive measures against Iran before April 2010. Moreover, since Sept. 2009 Chinese companies have actively resumed exports of gasoline to Iran.
Iran is currently China's third largest supplier of crude oil, providing China with roughly 12 percent of its total annual oil demand.
Chinese companies in Iran are replacing European companies, which have recently withdrawn from Iran's oil sector because of the threat of penalties for violation of the UN Security Council's resolutions against the Islamic Republic.
Reports indicate that the volume of Iran-China trade stood at about $30 billion in 2010.
Edited by T.Konyayeva.