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US sanctions against bank 'target' China

By Zhou Wa (China Daily)

08:14, August 02, 2012

Washington has attempted to put more pressure on China over the Iranian nuclear issue by placing sanctions on the country's Bank of Kunlun, with China expressing its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the measures on Wednesday.

The United States is unhappy about China's role in the Iran issue, because they do not think China is putting enough pressure on the country, said Zhang Xiaodong, an expert on Middle East studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"Although the White House didn't say its decision is directed at a third country, the sanction obviously targets China," said Zhang.

The sanction harms the interests of Bank of Kunlun, which belongs to China's largest petrol producer China National Petroleum Corporation, and its main clients include large State-owned enterprises, companies and staff members in the petrol and petrochemical industries, Zhang said.

The US attempted to warn China with its sanction, but it does not want to create direct conflict with China on the Iran issue either, Zhang added.

Shen Peng, a researcher at the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the US is not happy that Chinese financial firms still have connections with Iran, and want to put more pressure on China.

An editorial published on the Chinese website 21cn.com said the "punishment" serves as a warning to all financial institutions that have business connections with Iran, and the Bank of Kunlun is just a scapegoat.

The White House on Tuesday announced penalties to be imposed on the Bank of Kunlun and an Iraqi bank, blaming them for helping Iran evade international sanctions on its oil exports.

According to the White House, the sanction is not targeted at China, and the US will "expose any financial institution, no matter where they are located, that allows the increasingly desperate Iranian regime to retain access to the international financial system".

A Xinhua News Agency editorial said the sanction does not have a strong legal basis.

"The new measure, purportedly designed to curb Iran's nuclear program, in fact lacks legal grounds ... as sanctions on the Chinese bank and international transactions were made pursuant to the US domestic laws," the editorial stated.

Xinhua said the bilateral economic activities between the Bank of Kunlun and six Iranian banks were conducted in line with a string of UN Security Council resolutions and other international standards.
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