China is incensed over U.S. President Barack Obama's new sanctions against Iran, which will force countries to choose between doing business with the Iranian central bank or with the United States.
The sanctions, which Obama signed into law on Dec. 31, 2011, were made independently of the U.N. Security Council and the European Union.
China opposes placing one's domestic law above international law and imposing unilateral sanctions against other countries, said foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei at a news briefing.
China is a member of the Security Council and could use its veto power to block any proposed U.N. sanctions on Iran. Instead of sanctions, China is pushing for diplomatic talks between Iran and other world powers.
China has consistently believed that sanctions are not the correct way to ease tensions or resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear program, Hong stated.
The correct path is dialogue and negotiations.
China has significant economic interests in Iran. China is the world's top purchaser of Iranian oil and last July the two countries signed new investment agreements on projects in the water, mining, energy and industrial sectors worth $4 billion.
These interactions do not violate UN Security Council resolutions and will not impair third-party interests, Hong said. Therefore these interactions should not be affected.
The new U.S. sanctions won't take effect for up to six months and will include a waiver so that some countries can bypass the economic measures and continue to do business with both the U.S. and Iran. Turkey has stated that it is considering a waiver.
The inclusion of the 'waiver' in the bill reflects major concerns among American lawmakers that the bullying approach of the US against the Islamic Republic will backfire across the globe, wrote Iranian state news agency Press TV on Wednesday.
The new sanctions are a reaction against Iran's nuclear weapons program. It had long been suspected that Iran had been working to develop nuclear weapons but a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had tested weapons components and was likely still doing so.
Iran has blasted the IAEA report as a fabrication being used to justify U.S. actions against the country. The Islamic Republic insists that its nuclear program is only for peaceful energy purposes.