Iran's Zarif Says China 'Pivotal' to Salvaging Nuclear Deal, China Agrees

Protesters in Iran attack seminary, break windows

‘Anti-system’ protesters attack seminary near Tehran

The Trump administration said it wanted Iran's oil customers to stop imports by then.

In Washington, the US State Department tweeted on its Persian-language account: "While it is ultimately up to the #people_of_Iran to determine their country's path, #America supports the voice of the Iranian people, which has been ignored for a long time".

Trump's policies are already putting significant pressure on the Iranian economy, although USA intelligence suggests they may ultimately rally Iranians against the United States and strengthen Iran's hardline rulers, officials say.

Iran was hoping to sell more than 500,000 bpd of oil to India in 2018/19, its oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said in February.

While the USA failed to persuade Beijing to stop importing Iranian oil, the Chinese government did say it would not increase the imports, according to Bloomberg, which cited two anonymous officials "familiar with the negotiations".

India, the second purchaser of Iranian crude, also increased its imports from Iran last month.

Francis Fannon, US assistant secretary of state for the bureau of energy resources, was recently in China to discuss sanctions, Bloomberg said, citing a US government official. However, only 13 planes have been delivered since sanctions on Iran were lifted under the nuclear pact.

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Beijing has, however, agreed not to ramp up purchases of Iranian crude, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified because discussions with China and other countries continue.

Iranian protesters have attacked a religious school in Karaj province near Tehran, a conservative Iranian news agency has said, as sporadic protests simmered ahead of the reimposition of USA sanctions.

The US is due to impose a series of new sanctions on Iran in the next few months.

The U.S. military's Central Command on Wednesday confirmed it has seen an increase in Iranian naval activity, including in the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway that Iran's Revolutionary Guards have threatened to block. USA officials last week said Iran carried out a similar exercise, though Tehran did not immediately acknowledge it.

He also said Tehran expects the European countries to bring forward a practical package of proposals to salvage Iranian nuclear deal, also known as JCPOA, after the US pull-out in May.

United States crude exports have been seesawing over the past month, falling 51 per cent last week after an 84 per cent increase the week earlier, according to the latest Energy Information Administration Data. The waterway separating Iran and Oman hosts about 20 percent of the global trade in oil.

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