14:36 GMT +322 October 2018
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    EU Prevents Iran-Berlin Escalation by Quick Reaction to US Sanctions on Tehran

    © AFP 2018 / GEORGES GOBET
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    BERLIN (Sputnik) - Europe has managed to prevent the situation around Iran from further escalation owing to its quick and proper reaction to the recently reintroduced US sanctions on Tehran, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday.

    "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."

    READ MORE: 'Independent SWIFT' Issue Amid US Sanctions Shows EU Colossus With Feet of Clay

    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.

    The first set of restrictions, which include a ban on purchasing US currency, trading in gold and other precious metals, buying aluminum and steel for industrial purposes, and performing activities related to Iran’s sovereign debt, took effect on August 5. The second portion, including sanctions on Iran's port operations, energy sector and foreign transactions, will be effectuated in November.

    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.

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    Tags:
    nuclear, sanctions, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), EU, Heiko Maas, Donald Trump, Germany, Iran, Middle East
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