At a moment when the U.S. Congress is poised to impose unilateral sanctions on Iran's refined petroleum industry--the Senate bill to do this recently gained three new co-sponsors, including Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill, bringing the total to 76 senators in support of a measure which could see action very soon--China takes action that cuts the opposite way:

Chinese state companies this month began supplying petrol to Iran and now provide up to one-third of its imports in a development that threatens to undermine US-led efforts to shut off the supply of fuel on which its economy depends.

The sales come in spite of moves over the past year by international companies, including BP and Reliance of India, to stop selling petrol to Iran, and highlight the difficulties of implementing sanctions aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions...

The White House on Tuesday said that at a meeting with Chinese president Hu Jintao, President Barack Obama had been “forceful” in calling for more co-operation from Beijing over Iran.

It's not clear that Hu really cares.