Chinese banks have cut their business relations with Iranian banks due to US pressure over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying.

“Due to US pressure, China’s banking system has cut its cooperation with Iranian banks for four months so far”’ the E’temad daily quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Mahdi Miraboutalebi as saying, without providing details.

The US, which is leading efforts to isolate Iran over activities which Washington fears are ultimately aimed at making atomic bombs, has urged international banks and companies to stop doing business with Tehran.

China has growing commercial ties with Iran and opposes the imposition of strict economic sanctions on the country.

In December, the head of the Iranian-Chinese chamber of commerce said that Iranian traders had faced difficulties in opening letters of credit with Chinese banks, which restricted a key instrument in trade.

China has become an increasingly important trading partner with Iran as expanding UN and US sanctions over Iran’s nuclear activities have encouraged Western firms and banks particularly to scale back their dealings with Iran.

During a visit to Tehran late last year, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi was quoted as saying that Beijing wants to expand ties with

Tehran.El-Wasat, Egypt, February 2, 2008


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