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16 June, 2024
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China threatens to sever business ties with Iran over ship attacks

Chinese ultimatum: Stop Houthi attacks or lose trade with Iran


Recent diplomatic talks between Chinese and Iranian officials have brought to light China's pressing concern over Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea, allegedly backed by Iran.

According to four Iranian sources and a diplomat familiar with the discussions, Chinese officials have warned Iran of potential repercussions on bilateral business relations if the attacks persist unchecked, as Reuters reports.

The discussions, held in both Beijing and Tehran, emphasized the disruptive impact of Houthi actions on vital trade routes linking Asia and Europe.

While China stands as Iran's primary trading partner, the trade balance remains heavily skewed, with Chinese oil refiners accounting for over 90% of Iran's crude exports last year, while Iranian oil only makes up 10% of China's crude imports.

Iran's involvement with various regional proxies, including the Houthis in Yemen, adds complexity to the situation, underscoring Tehran's intricate geopolitical calculations.

Despite efforts by U.S. and British forces to deter Houthi attacks, diplomatic engagements between the U.S., China, and Iran have yet to yield concrete outcomes.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated its commitment to regional security and stability, emphasizing collaboration among Middle Eastern countries. However, Iran's Foreign Ministry has not issued a comment on the discussions.

The strategic partnership between China and Iran, exemplified by China's role in facilitating an agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia in 2023, highlights China's growing influence in the region.

Nevertheless, Tehran's decisions are influenced by a multitude of factors, including regional alliances and geopolitical dynamics.

The delicate balancing act Tehran must navigate in addressing regional conflicts while safeguarding its interests and alliances underscores the complexity of the situation.

As tensions persist in the Red Sea, the outcomes of diplomatic efforts between China, Iran, and other stakeholders remain uncertain.

[With information sourced from Reuters]

Cyprus  |  Houthi  |  attacks  |  China  |  Iran

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