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Page added on September 30, 2009

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Chinese oil demand fueling Iranian defiance

Despite tough talk from Washington, China needs Iran’s oil too much to support sanctions that might actually bite.

NEW YORK ( — Don’t look for Iran to throw up the white flag anytime soon.

The Obama administration is scrambling to tighten trade sanctions against Iran after the disclosure last week that Tehran was hiding a heavily fortified facility that many believe is designed to make material for nuclear weapons.

But the kind of sanctions that would really hit Iran’s economy – sanctions against its energy industry – are thought to be off the table because China and other nations are too reliant on Iran’s oil.

“They look to Iran as a major source of future oil supplies,” said James Placke, a senior associate at Cambridge Energy Research Associates who specializes in the Middle East. “They’d have to go through a substantial policy reversal, and I’d be surprised if they did that.”


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