Germany tells Iran it will push US to ‘dismantle sanctions’
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has promised to press Washington loosen its economic restrictions on Iran, as it promised to do as part of last year’s nuclear deal.
During a public speech during a landmark two-day economic cooperation visit to Tehran, Gabriel said Germany intends to "remind the United States of the commitment to get to an effective dismantling of sanctions."
The SPD politician, who also serves as Germany’s Vice Chancellor, said that Washington “should act on its responsibilities concerning Iran so the outcome of the nuclear deal becomes visible in Iran."
For its part, Germany said it planned to sign 10 key deals, and boost economic turnover with Iran by €2.5 billion, as a result of the visit, during which 120 senior business leaders joined Gabriel.
Iran’s banks, oil producers and government had been under severe economic restrictions from the US following the Islamic Revolution, which had been subsequently tightened several times, as a reaction to the country’s nuclear program, and ostensible support for organizations Washington classifies as terrorists, such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
Many of those, and others imposed by the EU and the UN, were officially lifted in January this year, after Iran was adjudged to have been following the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPA) – an agreement between Iran and China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Germany and the EU - that promised more favorable economic conditions in exchange for greater restrictions and tighter supervision of the country’s nuclear program.
But according to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the implementation of the sanctions reprieve has been “flawed.” Most problematically, many European banks are still reluctant to do business inside Iran, as they fear this may endanger their dealings with US financial institutions that are still banned from having dealings with the Islamic Republic.
But the US said that it is fulfilling its state obligations, and it is now down to individual companies if they want to invest in Iran. Last week, US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said that Iran’s oil exports were “essentially back to pre-sanctions levels" – Washington and Brussels imposed an embargo on Iranian petrochemicals in 2012 – and said that the Islamic Republic was now the beneficiary of “a considerable additional cash flow."