A German business group says German companies’ trade with Iran has declined sharply as the United States turns up the economic heat on Tehran.
Volker Treier, the foreign trade chief of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, told news agency dpa in comments published Sunday that German exports to Iran were down 50 percent in year-on-year terms in the first quarter, while Iranian exports to Germany dropped some 42 percent.
Treier said that, of 120 German companies that were active in Iran, only 60 are still in the country. He said that “the U.S. sanctions affect economic relations like a full embargo because the financial sector is affected.”
The Trump administration withdrew last year from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, and reinstated sanctions.
It is notable that The United States on May 8 warned European banks, investors and businesses against engaging with the so-called special purpose vehicle called INSTEX, a Europe-backed system to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran and circumvent U.S. sanctions.
“If you are a bank, an investor, an insurer or other business in Europe you should know that getting involved in the … Special Purpose Vehicle is a very poor business decision,” Tim Morrison, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Biodefense told a conference.
He has also called Iran’s move to scale back some curbs to its program “nothing less than nuclear blackmail of Europe”.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with UK’s foreign secretary May 8 said Iran is blackmailing Europe by its recent move concerning JCPOA. Pompeo added Iran’s decision today was a return to weapons grade enrichment. He said Iran’s letter was vague, but the U.S. will wait and see.
Morrison also said the United States is planning to impose further sanctions on Iran ‘very soon’, a senior White House official said on Wednesday, as Tehran announced it was scaling back some curbs to its nuclear program.