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China bought more crude from Iran in June than it did on average last year before European Union-imposed sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation went into force.
Iranian oil shipments rose 17 percent from May to 2.6 million metric tons, or about 635,000 barrels a day, according to Bloomberg calculations from data e-mailed Monday by General Administration of Customs. China bought 2.3 million tons of crude from Iran on average each month, or about 557,000 barrels each day, last year.
China, the Islamic nation's biggest crude customer, calls its purchases "completely justified and legitimate". The US and EU set new rules on the trade meant to curb elements of Iran's atomic program they say could support nuclear weapons.