Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer are trying to scale a Chinese wall against tough sanctions on Iran. China, like Russia, has invested heavily in Iran’s nuclear development program and maintains close energy, trade and diplomatic ties with the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak admitted to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Friday that Israel’s influence is limited. "You are living a symbiotic relationship with (China)... based on the amount of American bonds that they hold,” he said. “They didn't buy a lot of bonds in shekels. Our mission there is just about information. The Chinese are interested in facts, and we are interested in sharing [facts] with them."
Israel previously has been reported to possess specific reports on Iran’s plans to obtain nuclear capability and has disclosed some of the information to China.
One trump card in Fischer’s and Yaalon’s hands is the threat that war with Iran would cause a spike in oil prices and could threaten the supply of crude oil for China’s growing demand for energy. Iran is China’s third largest oil supplier.
Beijing has insisted that dialogue with Iran is the best way to deal with the fear that it is trying to produce a nuclear weapon. Israel and the United States are campaigning for tough sanctions aimed at damaging the Iranian economy as a lever to convince it to cooperate with United Nations nuclear inspectors.
China and Russia have been the principal obstacles to a United Nations Security Council decision to place harsher sanctions against Iran, but Russia is beginning to soften its opposition.