"For instance, Iran. It is important that we have rapidly reacted to the reintroduced US sanctions and, legally speaking, have protected European enterprises from them. We are working together with the British, French and others to maintain economic relations and turnover with Iran. Many complex issues concerning details remain open, but we have managed to avoid an escalation," Maas said at a conference in Berlin.
According to Maas, the situation would have otherwise turned into an arms race in the Middle East with "predictably devastating consequences."
In May, US President Donald Trump announced his decision to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, and reimpose sanctions against Tehran and third states doing business with Iran.
Following the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, the European Union along with other signatories to the accord has repeatedly stressed their interest in preserving ties with Iran. Since then, the European Union has amended its Blocking Statute to protect the interests of EU companies doing business with Iran.