The administration of US President Joe Biden has told Beijing it will enforce Trump-era sanctions against Iranian oil as shipments from the Tehran regime to China have soared, a senior US official told the Financial Times.

The Trump administration had imposed sanctions on a Chinese state-run energy company and several tanker companies in 2019, accusing it of trading Iranian oil in violation of US restrictions.

“We’ve told the Chinese that we will continue to enforce our sanctions,” the senior administration official said. “There will be no tacit green light.”

The official indicated that sanctions could be waived during hoped-for talks between Washington and Tehran to revive the multi-party nuclear deal.

According to data from energy research company Kpler, China imported about 478,000 barrels of oil a day from Iran on average in February.

It said the amount is expected to increase to about 1m b/d in March — one of the highest monthly purchases on record. The senior official also told the British newspaper that the US could relieve sanctions if Washington reached understanding with Tehran “either as part of a mutual set of steps or as part of a full return into compliance” with the 2015 nuclear accord.

“Ultimately, our goal is not to enforce the sanctions; it is to get to the point where we lift sanctions and Iran reverses its nuclear steps,” said the official.

Meanwhile, Axios wrote that in the first round of US-Israel strategic talks on Iran last week, senior national security and foreign policy officials laid down all they know about Iran’s nuclear program.

It quoted three senior Israeli officials familiar with the talks as saying that the meeting was led by White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabba.

It included senior officials from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council, State Department and other agencies on the US side; and the Mossad intelligence agency, military intelligence, Atomic Energy Committee, Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Defense on the Israeli side.

“Israeli officials were satisfied by the discussions and noted that Sullivan and his team stressed the importance of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in the long term,” Axios said.

The three senior Israeli officials said Sullivan promised that the US would be transparent with Israel about its decisions on Iran, but expects the same level of transparency in return.

They added that Sullivan and his team were candid about the dilemmas they face in seeking diplomacy with Iran and the difficulties of engaging with the Iranians, the Israeli officials say.

On Friday, US Special envoy for Iran Rob Malley told Voice of America Persian that attacks by Iran-backed militias against US forces abroad will not force Washington to move faster to reach a new deal with Tehran.

Malley hinted that in case attacks against US and Coalition forces in Iraq continue, the US would respond “as it has responded and it will continue to respond.”

Source » aawsat