11:37 GMT +317 October 2019
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    American flag flies on top of the U.S. embassy in front of the Reichstag building that houses the German Parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany (File)

    Germany Seeks to Create Counterweight If US 'Crosses Red Line'

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    Relations between the US and its European allies have been strained since Washington imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe and withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

    EU Payment System

    On Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that if Europe wants to save the Iran nuclear agreement, it  should reassess its partnership with the US and create an EU payment system to serve as a "counterweight" to the United States whenever Washington "crosses red lines," Deutsche Welle reported.

    "Single-handedly, we will fail in this task. The main goal of our foreign policy is therefore to build a sovereign, strong Europe," Maas wrote in a guest article for the German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

    "That's why it is indispensable that we strengthen European autonomy by creating payment channels that are independent of the United States, a European Monetary Fund and an independent SWIFT system," Maas wrote.

    He added that Germany needs a "balanced partnership" with the United States, in which it "brings its weight where the US withdraws."

    Saving Iran Deal

    Maas’ statement comes as the EU has pledged to counter the US’ renewed sanctions on Iran and is scrambling to persuade Tehran to stick to the terms of the 2015 nuclear accord.

    However, some European companies, wary of sanctions Washington has threatened to impose on firms who keep doing business with Tehran, are already wrapping up their operations there.

    READ MORE: Germany Won't Abandon Nord Stream 2 Project Despite US Discontent — SPD Leader

    Iran has urged Brussels to speed up efforts to save the deal after French oil group Total pulled out of a major gas project earlier this week.

    On May 8, President Donald Trump announced that the US was withdrawing from the nuclear agreement with Tehran and promised to impose the “highest level” of sanctions on the country’s  energy, petrochemical and financial sectors despite objections from Europe as well as Russia and China who have repeatedly defended the accord.

    Related:

    Germany to Protect Its Companies’ Exports, Investments in Iran From US Sanctions
    Germany's Daimler AG Suspends Activities in Iran Due to Reimposed US Sanctions
    Tags:
    EU monetary system, EU firms, Iran nuclear deal, US sanctions, EU, Heiko Maas, Donald Trump, Germany
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