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China defends Iranian oil imports

BEIJING (AP) – China is defending its Iranian oil imports but not saying whether it would be willing to reduce them to avoid U.S. sanctions against Chinese banks as part of Washington’s financial squeeze on Iran.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said Tuesday that Beijing remains opposed to unilateral sanctions and has communicated its position to Washington.

The Obama administration on Monday exempted India and six other governments from U.S. economic sanctions after they significantly reduced their imports of Iranian oil.

That leaves China alone among major importers of Iranian oil without a U.S. waiver. It has until June 28 to reduce its consumption of Iranian oil or face the penalties, unless it receives a national security waiver.

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