China criticises new EU sanctions on Iran, calls for talks
BEIJING (REUTERS) - China criticised the European Union on Tuesday for imposing new sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme, calling again for talks to resolve the stand-off.
The EU governments' sanctions target major Iranian state companies in the oil and gas industry, and strengthen restrictions on the central bank, cranking up pressure on the country which has close trade ties with Beijing.
China is Iran's largest crude oil customer and, along with Russia, has resisted putting sanctions on Tehran.
"We oppose the imposition of unilateral sanctions on Iran and believe that using sanctions to exert pressure cannot fundamentally resolve the Iran nuclear issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.