Altmaier urges more investment in Iran
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier sharply criticized US President Donald Trump’s sanctions policies, saying Europe would not bow to US pressure regarding Iran.
“We won’t let Washington dictate us with whom we can do business and we therefore stick to the Vienna nuclear agreement,” Altmaier told Bild newspaper, referring to the 2015 nuclear agreement Iran signed with six world powers.
Altmaier said Germany and its EU allies would continue to support companies doing business with Iran after the US pulled out of the nuclear deal in May and resorted sanctions on the Islamic Republic on Tuesday.
He said Germany should be more assertive and defy American sanctions – particularly by investing more in Iran.
“German companies should be allowed to continue to invest in Iran as much as they want and the German government is looking for ways together with its European allies to ensure that financial transactions could still take place,” Altmaier said.
The minister said the US sanctions on Iran are one instance in which America’s neglect of its partners are clearly shown.
Several European companies have suspended plans to invest in Iran in light of the US sanctions, including oil major Total as well as carmakers PSA, Renault and Daimler.
German business associations have warned that companies are increasingly suffering from Trump’s sanctions policies, including those against Iran.
The US restrictions have damaged EU ties with Iran, which flourished after the milestone nuclear deal. Last week, the EU responded to the latest Iran sanctions by calling on companies to disregard threats from the US. Apart from the issue of Iran, the US and Europe are locked in a dispute over tariffs on steel, aluminum, and automobiles.
With that in mind, the German minister said, the world now risks sliding into an all-out economic conflict, adding that “we are just a few yards from the edge,” and “a global trade war would not know winners, only losers.” Politicians have no right to jeopardize hundreds of thousands of European jobs that depend on US-EU trade, he stated.
“We have learnt from the past that mostly customers are suffering from trade wars as goods and services are getting more expensive,” Altmaier said. “This trade war hampers economic growth and brings new uncertainties.”
Reuters and RT contributed to this story.