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May 13, 2018 11:35 am

Difficult to Shield German Firms After US Withdrawal From Iran Deal: Minister

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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks during a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov following their meeting in Moscow, Russia May 10, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin.

Germany wants to help its companies continue doing business in Iran after the US decision to reimpose sanctions against Tehran, but it could be difficult to shield them from any fallout, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump’s decision on Tuesday to renege on the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and reimpose sanctions against Tehran came with the threat of penalties against any foreign firms involved in business there.

Germany – along with France and Britain – has said it remains committed to the nuclear deal. The foreign ministers of the three European powers will meet their Iranian counterpart in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss a way forward.

“I do not see a simple solution to shield companies from all risks of American sanctions,” Maas told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

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“The talks with the Europeans, Iran and the other signatories to the agreement are therefore also about how it can be possible to continue trade with Iran,” Maas said.

Maas said the Europeans wanted to ensure that Iran would continue to abide by the rules and restrictions of the nuclear agreement.

“After all, Iran is ready to talk. It’s clear that there should also be economic incentives – that will not be easy after the US decision,” Maas said.

The minister echoed calls from Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders that Iran should agree to a broader deal that went beyond the original accord and included Iran’s “problematic role in the region.”

The Trump administration portrayed its rejection of the nuclear agreement as a response, in part, to Tehran’s interventions in the Middle East, underpinning concerns expressed by regional allies, including Israel, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

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