According to an article that Deutsche Welle published, President Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal on May 8. Two days later, China sent a freight train carrying 1,150 tons of sunflower seeds heading to Tehran, the capital of Iran. The article commented that it is hard not to conclude that the timing of the shipment was a signal that China and Iran sent to challenge the decision that the Trump administration made. The article stated that China entered into a trade agreement with Iran two years ago with a trade target to grow to US$600 billion over the next ten years. For China, Iran is a major component of its “One Belt One Road” project in opening up the middle Europe and China – Africa economic corridor. Meanwhile China buys 1/3 of its oil from Iran and is the largest oil buyer for Iran. In the first quarter of 2018, China’s imports from Iran averaged 658,000 barrels of oil each day, up 17.3 percent from the same period in 2017. The article also mentioned that the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that China opposes the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal.
Source: Deutsche Welle, May 11, 2018