Spokesman Hong Lei told China's official Xinhua news agency that his country imports oil based on its economic development needs. "China opposes any country implementing unilateral sanctions on the other country according to its domestic law," Hong said.
His comments came in response to a question about sanctions on Iran announced by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton issued a statement Tuesday saying the United States will initially exempt Japan and 10 European nations from its tough new sanctions on Iran.
Twelve countries, including China, must reduce oil imports from Iran before the end of July or face sanctions.