BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- China legally imports oil from Iran through normal channels in a reasonable and fair manner, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.
Spokesman Hong Lei said China imports oil based on its economic development needs without violating relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and undermining the third party's and international community's interests.
"China opposes any country implementing unilateral sanctions on the other country according to its domestic law," the spokesman said, adding that China will not accept the practice of saddling unilateral sanctions on the third country.
Hong made the remark at a daily press briefing when asked to comment on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's announcement on Iran sanctions.
Clinton issued a statement on Tuesday saying that the U.S. will initially exempt Japan and 10 European nations from its new tough sanctions on Iran, saying these countries have "significantly" reduced their oil imports from the Islamic republic, according to reports.
Clinton said she would report to Congress that sanctions will not apply to the financial institutions in these countries for a renewable period of 180 days.
The 10 European beneficiaries are Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.
Twelve countries including China, India and the Republic of Korea should reduce oil imports from Iran before the end of July or face sanctions, according to reports.