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Mon May 21, 2012|
China's oil imports from Iran have increased by 53.2 percent in April to 388,034 barrels per day (bpd) from 253,302 bpd a month earlier, Chinese customs data shows.
The jump in China's crude imports came after Tehran and Beijing "resolved disputes over annual contracts," Reuters reported.
The Monday data also indicated that China's oil imports from Iran stood at 355,989 bpd in January-April.
Last week, data released by Italy's oil refining industry body Unione Petrolifera (UP) showed that the country's oil imports from Iran increased by 6 percent in March to 425,200 tons, compared with the 401,600 tons in February.
The growth in Italy's crude imports from Iran came despite the oil embargo imposed by the European Union on the Islamic Republic.
On January 23, the European Union approved new sanctions on Iran's oil and financial sectors. The sanctions are meant to prevent EU member states from buying Iranian crude or doing business with its central bank. The sanctions will come into force as of July 1.
The US and the EU have imposed new financial sanctions as well as oil embargoes against Iran since the beginning of 2012, claiming that the country's nuclear energy program includes a military component.
Tehran refutes such allegations, noting that frequent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency have never found any diversion in Iran's nuclear energy program toward military purposes.
Iran's Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Shamseddin Hosseini has warned that if EU sanctions against the Islamic Republic take effect, oil prices will soar to as high as USD 160 per barrel.