BEIJING, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China's crude oil imports from Iran are in line with sanctions targeting the Iranian energy sector.
"Our cooperation with Iran on crude oil is transparent, open, reasonable and commercial in nature. It does not run counter to U.N. resolutions or damage third-party interests," Hong said in a report from China's official Xinhua News Agency Thursday.
Hong said China was importing less crude oil from Iran than during previous months but that was not in response to sanctions or to nuclear talks under way in Geneva, Switzerland.
Iranian delegates and representatives from the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France, plus Germany, met in Geneva for a third day of nuclear negotiations Friday.
Iran denies its nuclear program is geared toward creating weapons. It maintains it has the right to enrich uranium to a high level of purity, seen as a precursor to a nuclear weapon.
A bipartisan group of 14 members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee issued a statement Thursday saying no new sanctions were proposed while negotiations were under way in Geneva.
"We will work together to reconcile Democratic and Republican proposals over the coming weeks and to pass bipartisan Iran sanctions legislation as soon as possible," the statement said.