By Mostafa Malih Ahisali
ISTANBUL (AA) – Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday denied reports about his country granting long-term oil concessions to China.
"Iran granted discounts on oil prices to China but it is not for a long-term as some news said," Zarif told the official IRNA news agency.
"Signing a strategic agreement between the two countries for 25 years was the proposal of Iran. Work is underway and we have not reached an agreement to be announced."
Last week, the U.S. imposed fresh Iran-related sanctions on Chinese nationals and entities for transporting oil from Iran.
Tensions have escalated between the U.S. and Iran after President Donald Trump withdrew in May 2018 from a nuclear pact world powers struck with Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from economic sanctions.
Trump has since embarked on a campaign to scuttle the agreement, including the re-imposition of sanctions on Iranian crude oil that were lifted as part of the agreement.
China was one of seven countries that were initially granted waivers for the oil sanctions, but the Trump administration declined to renew them when they expired in May.
*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara