Merkel to urge China to cut Iran oil imports: source

BERLIN Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:21am EST

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a news conference after a European Union summit in Brussels January 30, 2012.  REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a news conference after a European Union summit in Brussels January 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Sebastien Pirlet

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will use a planned visit to China this week to encourage Beijing to reduce its imports of Iranian oil, a German government source said on Tuesday.

Last week, the European Union agreed to ban from July 1 all imports of oil from Iran, OPEC's second largest producer, in a drive to pressure Tehran into reining in its nuclear activities.

"It is in German interests that China does not raise its imports (from Iran). It would be good if China would reduce its imports," the government source told a news briefing ahead of Merkel's trip to China that begins on Wednesday.

China has criticized the EU ban, saying it is "not a constructive approach."

Beijing, the world's second largest crude consumer, has long opposed unilateral sanctions that target Iran's energy sector and has tried to reduce tensions that could threaten its oil supply.

The 27-nation EU delayed until July the entry into force of the oil import ban because it also wants to avoid penalizing the ailing economies of Italy, Greece and others for whom Iran is a major oil supplier.

The EU strategy will be reviewed in May to see whether it should go ahead.

Western powers accuse Iran of planning to build nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes.

(Reporting by Matthias Sobolewski and Gareth Jones; editing by James Jukwey)

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Comments (11)
koli wrote:
Does anyone really think China will listen? They need the oil and they have their own rules… I really think we are at the doorsteps of a world war and I am old, but it is not fair for our children and grandchildren. Please, I beg to those who are on the top… your own future is the children who you would drive to end if you dont act like grown ups. ALL think they have the right to tell the other what and what not to do and there are no winners in this game… cant you see it?

Jan 31, 2012 5:28am EST  --  Report as abuse
Invictuss wrote:
Hahah has she be drinking anything….China won’t really give a shite about this hahah

Jan 31, 2012 6:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
Robcph wrote:
And as a result, Germany will be the first country Iran will cut off their oil.

Jan 31, 2012 7:44am EST  --  Report as abuse
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