The White House has warned Chinese shipping companies against turning off their ships' transponders to hide Iranian oil shipments in violation of United States sanctions, two senior administration officials said.
"We've been messaging very heavily to the shipping companies, you don't want to do this, it's not worth it," said one official, who spoke to Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity.
"It's incredibly dangerous and irresponsible behaviour."
China is the largest remaining buyer of Iranian oil after US President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on Tehran's main export.
Trump tightened US sanctions in May in an effort to drive Iran's oil sales to zero.
The sanctions are aimed at quashing Iran's nuclear ambitions, ballistic missile programme and influence in Syria, Iraq and other countries. Its oil exports have fallen to less than 400,000 barrels per day from about 2.5 million.
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