The 27 members of the European Union may be on the brink of announcing an embargo on Iranian oil.
The deal could be reached as early as the end of this month as it appears there is already agreement in principle, with just the dates remaining to be fixed.
Several EU nations, notably Greece, are heavily dependent on Iranian oil so an embargo will hurt, and they have been pushing for an embargo to start later in the year, but it seems they have been swayed by a majority wanting swifter action.
China has however reiterated its opposition to unilateral action and stresses diplomacy is the way forward.
“China is against one country putting their domestic laws above international law and placing unilateral sanctions on another country. China, like many other countries, maintains regular, open and transparent economic and energy relations with Iran. These relations do not violate the regulations of the UN Security Council,” said foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei.
The Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, which has now left the Straits of Hormuz, had shadowed Iran’s recent 10-day naval exercises, and on Wednesday Iran’s defence minister echoed his naval commander’s warning it should not return, as an American presence in the area “could only create trouble”. Its return would make America responsible for any problems, he said.