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Iran is one of China's top trading partners, but US sanctions over Iran's controversial nuclear program have made trade difficult with China... with many suspecting a debt has built up between the two nations. But Iranian officials say there is "no problem" as far as debts with China are concerned. Here's that story.
The Iranian Economic Minister announced on Tuesday that the Chinese regime has no outstanding oil debts to Iran. Many speculate that a debt has built up after U.S. sanctions have made it almost impossible for Iran to accept payment in U.S. dollars. The Chinese regime is Iran's biggest oil customer and uses dollars to pay for the oil it buys.
According to the Financial Times, these sanctions have blocked Chinese authorities from paying $20 billion dollars to Iran. Yet Iranian officials say there is no debt.
[Shamseddin Hosseini, Iranian Economic Minister]:
"It (China) has no oil debts to Iran."
The two countries have had talks about using a barter system to trade, where Iran exchanges its oil for Chinese goods and services. But Iranian officials are vague about the exact details of their trade with the Chinese regime.
[Ramin Mehmanparast, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson]:
"As we have announced in the past—regarding our cooperation in the field of oil with other countries—we view the cooperation in the field of oil within the frameworks of a commercial transaction, and as an economic cooperation, for which our banking and economic officials will seek council. We don't have any problems with China regarding the sales of our oil."
Iran has threatened to cut off oil exports to India, which owes about $5 billion dollars. India exports very little to Iran, whereas the Chinese regime is a dominant force in the Iranian market and has recently been expanding into the country's oil sector.