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Germany to press US to effectively lift Iran sanctions: Vice chancellor

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel attending an economic forum in Tehran, Iran, October 3, 2016.

Germany has promised to exercise pressure on the United States to act on its commitment of “effectively” removing sanctions against Iran.

Germany wanted to “remind the United States of the commitment to get to an effective dismantling of sanctions,” German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said at the opening of an economic forum in Tehran on Monday.

He arrived in the Iranian capital on Sunday for a two-day visit at the head of a business delegation comprising 160 industry representatives, including agents from German giants such as Siemens and Volkswagen.

Germany had for decades been Iran’s biggest European trading partner before a series of sanctions were tightened against the Islamic Republic under the pretext of its nuclear program.

Almost immediately after Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, which had been struck late last year, the German government sent Gabriel to Tehran at the head of a major delegation to discuss post-sanctions business opportunities in the Islamic Republic.

Under the nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic has agreed to roll back certain aspects of its nuclear program and has provided international atomic monitors enhanced access to its nuclear facilities. In return, Iran’s partners agreed to terminate all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.

Despite the deal, some international banks still shy away from financing trade deals and processing transactions with Iran fearing US penalties.

Speaking in Tehran, Gabriel said, “Iranian banks should find ways for the expansion of relations. In this context, the US, too, should act on its responsibilities concerning Iran so the outcome of the nuclear deal becomes visible in Iran.”

“Besides the matters that separate Iran and Germany, there are elements for connection,” he said, noting, “Through the expansion of economic cooperation, we can also find approaches toward [accommodating] the complicated issues between the two countries.”

The countries’ respective central banks are due to sign a cooperation agreement later in the day.

Iran’s Deputy Economy Minister Mohammad Khaza’ei, meanwhile, said 10 economic agreements would be signed during Gabriel’s visit.

Gabriel had angered the Iranian public as well as officials by saying, prior to his trip, that Berlin and Tehran could have “normalized” relations only when the Islamic Republic recognized the Israeli regime.

Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said no country could set preconditions for the development of ties with Iran, rejecting Gabriel’s remarks.

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