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US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is traveling to China and Japan next week. The US is eager to push planned economic sanctions on Iran and needs the support of Asia's biggest powers.
Iran is suspected of continuing nuclear research, despite international efforts. The Obama administration wants to curb Tehran's oil revenue through economic sanctions to prevent Iran's nuclear program from developing further. However, two big challenges block the way.
The Chinese regime is the largest buyer of Iranian oil and has frequently stated its opposition to the sanctions.
And on top of that, Iran is threatening to block off a critical oil supply route through the Strait of Hormuz if sanctions are imposed. 40 percent of the world's oil travels through those shipping lanes, and a blockade would drive up oil prices at a time when the global economy is already fragile.
The European Union on the other hand is already on the road to a complete embargo of Iranian oil.
Besides the sanctions, Geithner is expected to discuss strategies for global economic growth and trade during his trip to China and Japan.