China seeks to protect Iran nuclear deal and bolster Tehran ties amid oil trade criticism
It follows a Reuters report that Iran was "indirectly" transferring oil to China for months, listing the crude as coming from Oman, the UAE, or Malaysia.
US President Joe Biden is seeking to revive the Iran nuclear deal, which the former president unilaterally withdrew from in 2018. In exchange for talks on the deal, Iran is calling for all sanctions to be lifted, leading to deadlock.
Since the sanctions were imposed, Iranian oil exports to China, India, Japan, and South Korea have rapidly declined.
More than half of Asia's crude oil imports come from the Middle East.
At a meeting in southern China on Monday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov both reiterated their support for a return to the Iran nuclear deal and lifting sanctions.
In February, China's foreign ministry urged calm and restraint between all parties.