A Chinese state-owned metals firm inked a US$712 million deal to construct a steel factory in Iran, a sign that Beijing is not in step with other nations eschewing trade with Tehran over its nuclear weapons ambitions, The Wall Street Journal reported. China Nonferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering & Construction (000758.SH), a unit of metals giant China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group, will assist the Iran Butia steel factory with equipment supply and installation, building and education services and engineering design, the Chinese company said in a statement Wednesday. China has consistently defended its trade relations with Iran, which is under sanctions imposed by the US and European Union for allegedly developing its nuclear weapons capacity. However, this deal is unlikely to raise concern in the US or Europe, given its small size and steel’s lower priority in contrast with crude oil.
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