Thus far, Beijing has found little wiggle room to resist the U.S.-E.U.-Saudi common vision that severe sanctions be used to shut down the bulk of Iran’s oil exports by June.
The reality being revealed in this confrontation is that China has much less ability to maneuver independently in the global oil system—whether in the market or in diplomatic and military matters—than most analysts would lead us to believe.
Preface: What are Washington v. Beijing´s strategic objectives here ?
In my assessment, there are clear underlying energy’market security reasons why the U.S. is pursuing this geopolitical path. The U.S. aim is to prevent Iran from projecting greater influence over key Gulf oil-market players Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, Kuwait and etc. as the U.S. withdraws from its over-extended presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. This draw-down is very important for U.S. strategy globally; but Washington will not accept Iran gaining greater influence over other local OPEC producers and thereby the global oil market (aka, The Global Barrel) as it steps back.