China blasts EU sanctions on Iran
Beijing - China said on Thursday EU sanctions on Iran announced earlier this week in response to Tehran's suspected nuclear drive were "not constructive", state media reported.
"To blindly pressure and impose sanctions on Iran are not constructive approaches," the foreign ministry was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency, in response to a question on the EU measures announced on Monday.
The EU announced it would slap an embargo on Iranian oil just weeks after Washington imposed fresh sanctions against Tehran, bringing swift condemnation from the Islamic republic.
Western powers believe Iran is inching closer and closer to building a nuclear bomb, but Tehran vehemently denies this, saying its atomic programme is not for military purposes.
China - a key ally of Iran and its top trading partner - consistently opposes the use of sanctions.
Beijing's economic ties with Tehran have expanded in recent years, partly thanks to the withdrawal of Western companies in line with sanctions against the Islamic republic over its contentious nuclear drive.
The Asian powerhouse also depends a lot on Iranian oil, and has strengthened its presence in the country's oil and gas sector by signing a series of contracts worth up to $40bn in the past few years.