China boosted its oil imports from Iran by over 5% in November 2011, a Chinese governmental body announced, adding that Iran was the third largest oil exporter to the country in the same month.
Iran exported about 622,000 barrels per day (bpd) to China in November, maintaining its place as the third largest crude supplier to the East Asian country, the Chinese General Administration of Customs (GAC) said.
The figure indicates a 5.3% growth compared with the same period last year, the report added.
China's oil imports in November reached 5.55 million barrels per day (bpd), which reflects an 8.5% increase compared to the same period a year earlier, the report added.
Iran is the second major oil exporter of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after Saudi Arabia.
The growth in China's oil imports from Iran came despite the West's efforts to rally support for an oil embargo on Iran.
Analysts say that crude oil may rise for a fourth year to a record average price in 2012 as the US, accompanied by Britain and Canada, are striving hard to persuade the European Union to ban oil imports from Iran.
Last week, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi dismissed oil sanctions against Iran by the EU and other western countries, saying the world is in dire need of Iranian oil supplies.
"Imposing sanctions on Iranian oil is not a wise move, and the market would pay a high price for it," Qassemi said, explaining that there will be no replacement for Iranian oil in the market.
"I believe Iranian oil has a unique place in the market, and in terms of its volume and quality there is no replacement for it."
Despite recent talk about imposing sanctions on Iranian oil, European Union members have failed to reach a consensus in this regard. With some EU members heavily dependent on Iranian oil, a European boycott of Iran's energy sector looks impossible.