Germany: US sanctions would strengthen radicals in Iran

Germany on Tuesday criticized new U.S. sanctions against Iran, warning that they may lead to “destabilization” and strengthen “radical forces” in the country.

“We think that this step is wrong,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told a news conference in Berlin, adding that Germany would take appropriate measures, together with its EU partners, to keep the nuclear agreement with Iran alive.

“We are taking necessary measures so that the Iranian economy would not collapse fully, and lead to a destabilization situation that would actually support the radical forces in Iran,” he said.

Germany’s top diplomat also warned that new sanctions on Iran may further escalate tensions in the Middle East and become a threat to Europe’s security.

He underlined that the agreement signed with Iran in 2015 was the most effective way to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear technology for military purposes.

“We are now working to forge new instruments within the European Union, such as the special purpose vehicle, to make sure that business can still be done with Iran,” he said.

World powers agreed in 2015 to lift economic sanctions imposed on Iran in return for the latter agreeing to limit its nuclear activity to peaceful and civilian purposes.

But in May, U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement, accusing Tehran of cheating on the agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The agreement was signed between Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members — US, China, Russia, France, and Britain — plus EU heavyweight Germany.

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