Germany seeks to create counterweight If US ‘crosses red line’

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.

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.

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.

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