Scattered protests in Iran as US sanctions loom

China rejects US demand to reduce Iran oil imports: report

He called Washington's attempt to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero was "mindless" and a sign that the Trump administration has not "thought about its consequences".

Ri is set to jet in as the United States reimposes sanctions on Iran following Washington's withdrawal from the 2015 deal to curb Tehran's nuclear programme.

Francis Fannon, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Energy Resources, was recently in China to discuss sanctions, according to a State Department spokesperson.

In May, the United States pulled out of a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran under which worldwide sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

"China always holds the view that JCPOA is a multilateral deal which is verified and approved by the United Nations Security Council and accords the common interests of all parties and the global community, which must be respected and safeguarded so as to maintain the authority of the United Nations, the effectiveness of multilateral deals and the credibility of the worldwide rules", he was quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency as saying.

WTI settled down 47 cents to $68.49 per barrel, and Brent fell 24 cents to $73.21 per barrel, causing Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch & Associates, to remark, "It's a jittery feel here, as long as we have Iranian sanctions uncertainty and tariff uncertainty, and it doesn't take much to spark a significant swing one way or the other".

On the back of renewed tensions between Iran and the USA, the Islamic Republic's President Hassan Rouhani delivered a thinly-veiled threat to hamper oil shipments in the Gulf.

Rouhani's apparent threat earlier in July to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries came in reaction to the looming us sanctions and efforts by Washington to force all countries to stop buying Iranian oil.

Monday, US sanctions will kick in, banning the purchase of US dollars, gold and other precious metals, and in early November oil, shipping and ports will be hit by the second phase of the same sanctions.

Last month, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said the Trump administration had launched a communications campaign to foment unrest and put pressure on Iran to end its nuclear programme and its support of armed groups. It accounted for 35 percent the Iranian exports last month, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

What's next for Iran oil?

Currently China is the world's top buyer of crude oil, including from Iran, making Chinese refusal to cooperate a major challenge to the US.

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