Iranian oil “is not irreplaceable” to China, which could import more from Russia and Saudi Arabia, one economist said.
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The U.S. decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran could scare off European investors, but oil-thirsty China could step into the void and ramp up business links with the country. China, which is already Iran's top trade partner and one of its biggest buyers of crude, has signaled that it intends to keep working with the Islamic regime despite the U.S. move.The Iran deal has been highly profitable for the Asian giant.In September, China provided a $10 billion credit line to five Iranian banks financing water, energy and transport projects, and in March the two countries inked a $700 million deal allowing China to build a train line that links the port of Bushehr to the rest of Iran's railway network. European companies could be hit hard by U.S. sanctions.Total started the huge $4.8 billion gas field project known as South Pars 11 in July 2017, two years after the nuclear deal between Tehran and Western powers prompted the return of many businesses to Iran.
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