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China pressures Iran to rein in Houthi attacks in Red Sea or risk harming business relations: report

Chinese officials reportedly are pressuring Iran to rein in attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on commercial ships in the Red Sea or risk harming their business relations with Beijing. 

Discussions about the ongoing attacks by the Yemeni group and trade have come up repeatedly during recent meetings in the two countries, four Iranian sources told Reuters. The news agency reports that China has been Iran’s biggest trade partner for the last decade and, according to data from trade analytics firm Kpler, it bought over 90% of the Islamic Republic’s crude oil exports last year. 

“Basically, China says: ‘If our interests are harmed in any way, it will impact our business with Tehran. So tell the Houthis to show restraint’,” one Iranian official briefed on the talks told Reuters. 

When China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was asked about the matter, it said “China is a sincere friend of the countries of the Middle East and is committed to promoting regional security and stability and seeking common development and prosperity.” 

US, UK IMPOSE NEW HOUTHI SANCTIONS AS RED SEA ATTACKS CONTINUE 

Houthi rebels in Yemen

Houthi fighters stage a rally against the U.S. government designating Houthis as a terror group and against the U.S.-led sustained airstrikes on Yemen, near Sanaa, Yemen, on Thursday, Jan. 25.  (AP/Osamah Abdulrahman / AP Newsroom)

“We firmly support Middle Eastern countries in strengthening their strategic independence and uniting and collaborating to resolve regional security issues,” the ministry added, according to Reuters. 

The U.S. is continuing to carry out what it describes as “self-defense” strikes against the Houthis. 

SHELL SUSPENDS ALL RED SEA SHIPMENTS INDEFINITELY AS HOUTHIS LAUNCH ATTACKS FROM YEMEN: REPORT 

Plane takes off to strike Yemen's Houthis

An aircraft takes off to join the U.S.-led coalition to conduct air strikes against military targets in Yemen, aimed at the Iran-backed Houthi militia that has been targeting international shipping in the Red Sea, from an undisclosed location in this (US Central Command via X/Reuters / Reuters Photos)

On Wednesday, two Houthi anti-ship missiles that were being prepared to launch at commercial ships in the Southern Red Sea were destroyed by the U.S., officials told Fox News. 

Houthi fighters march in Yemen

Houthi fighters are seen in Yemen on Thursday, Jan. 25. (AP/Osamah Abdulrahman / AP Newsroom)

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS        

Meanwhile, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is reporting that freight traffic going through the Suez Canal connected to the Red Sea has plunged by 45% since the Houthis started launching attacks. 

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