‘Thousands of German SMEs can trade with Iran’
Former German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel says small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can continue trade with Iran despite US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Gabriel is currently visiting Iran at the head of an economic delegation of chief executives and representatives of Germany companies.
They met and conferred with Iran’s Central Bank Governor Abdolnaser Nemmati in Tehran late Monday, where Gabriel reiterated Europe’s determination to expand political and economic ties with Iran after US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement.
“Thousands of small- and medium-sized German companies that have nothing to do with the United States can easily trade with Iran,” IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.
Gabriel also sounded upbeat about opening a financial channel to continue trade with Iran in the face of new US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
At the meeting, the two sides also discussed the financial mechanism devised for easing trade between Iran and Europe without being affected by the sanctions.
The European Union has said it is creating a new payment mechanism to allow countries to transact with Iran while avoiding the US sanctions.
Called the "special purpose vehicle" (SPV), the mechanism would aim to "assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran". Iran has welcomed the step but it is frustrated at the pace with which the SPV is being set up.
The German diplomat told Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Monday that the EU did not agree with all US policies but there was some level of uncertainty among some European countries about countering US sanctions even though they all agreed on the need to preserve the nuclear deal.
A failure to set up the SPV would be a humiliation for broader advocates of greater European economic independence from the dollar.
Iran signed the JCPOA with the US, Britain, France, Russia and China as well as Germany in 2015. Based on it, Iran agreed to restrict certain aspects of its nuclear energy activities in return for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions against the country.
US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington would no longer remain part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and promised to re-impose the highest level of economic sanctions against Iran.