The Trump administration has abandoned Obama-era engagement of both China and Iran in favor of pressure and confrontation. This has pushed Beijing and Tehran closer together, making their relationship a trade war target for the White House.
The U.S. has tightened sanctions on Iran over the past year, and this is likely to continue if President Donald Trump shifts from military threats to full-on economic war. With China conducting significant business with Iran, the risk is more head-butting between the world's two largest economies and military powers.
Peng Nian, a fellow at the Institute for China-America Studies, said Beijing was upset with Washington's pullout from the Iran nuclear deal -- the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action -- which it regards as the successful outcome of its mediation with Tehran. Future tensions between the U.S. and Iran have little upside for China, he said.
Read the full article and more in Nikkei Asian Review.