China unlikely to support anti-nuclear sanctions against oil ally Iran
Hua Liming, Beijing's former ambassador to Tehran, said: "Although they have different political systems and ideologies, China and Iran carry out independent foreign policy and are not willing to be manipulated by the big nations in the worldChina is the world's second-largest consumer of crude oil, and is determined to safeguard energy supplies. Iran has the second-largest reserves. This year they announced a $3.2bn (£2bn) gas deal. Trade volume has reportedly soared from $400m in 1994 to $29bn last year, and Iran's ambitious development plans are welcome to a country skilled in building infrastructure.
And as China expands its global influence, Iran could become increasingly useful.
"China recognises Iran as a very major power in the Gulf… It is positioning itself to develop friendly cooperation akin to its relationship with Pakistan," said John Garver, of the Georgia Institute of Technology. "There are situations which could emerge in which Iranian co-operation could be very important to China – such as some kind of western blockade of oil supplies. Having a major oil producer in the Gulf willing to thumb its nose at the US would be very, very useful."