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China Urges Iran to Help Stop Houthi Attacks

The Chinese government has approached Iran’s leadership to seek help with ending Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

This is according to a Reuters report citing unnamed sources from Iran.

"Basically, China says: 'If our interests are harmed in any way, it will impact our business with Tehran. So tell the Houthis to show restraint'," one of the sources said.

So far, there have been several meetings between Chinese and Iranian officials, the report noted. These meetings followed a request by the U.S. to China to use its influence over Iran to help put an end to the attacks.

The FT cited unnamed U.S. officials earlier this week as saying Washington had approached Beijing several times with calls to convince Tehran to use its links to the Houthis to make them stop shooting at ships to avoid further escalation of violence in the region.

According to Reuters’ sources, the Chinese officials involved in the talks with Iran had not gone into any details about how relations between China and Iran would be affected should Chinese interests suffer from the Houthi attacks.

China is Iran’s biggest trade partner and the buyer of almost all of its oil.

"China is a sincere friend of the countries of the Middle East and is committed to promoting regional security and stability and seeking common development and prosperity," a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry told Reuters.

"We firmly support Middle Eastern countries in strengthening their strategic independence and uniting and collaborating to resolve regional security issues," they added.

Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea have prompted a mass ship migration to the Cape of Good Hope, which doubles the time it takes for cargos from Asia to reach Europe. The extended journey also leads to higher transportation and fuel costs, turning into an inflation driver at a time when many economies are still struggling with the aftereffects of the pandemic lockdowns.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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