Beijing won't take any action that will counter its principles regarding its relationship to Iran, including trade in crude oil, a Chinese official said.
Chinese Premier Hu Jintao said from Qatar that Beijing opposes any efforts by Iran to develop a nuclear weapon but would maintain a normal trade relationship with the Islamic republic.
"We have normal trade relations with Iran but we will not make deals that go against our principles," he was quoted by the Platts news service as saying.
He maintained that China would honor U.N. sanctions imposed against Iran but considered oil a normal part of its trade relations. China buys around 20 percent of Iran's crude oil.
"I am not worried about the oil trade between Iran and China," he said.
Last week, the U.S. government sanctioned China's Zhuhai Zhenrong Co., the largest supplier of refined petroleum product to Iran. Washington stressed that sanctions related to Iran were specific to those entities and not action taken against any particular government or country.
European leaders next week are expected to consider sanctions against Iran in response to Tehran's nuclear program.