Germany says Iran package will not fully compensate for USA sanctions

GETTYPresident Hassan Rouhani warned Iran could soon halt exports of oil to neighbouring countries

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said that world powers would not be able to fully compensate for companies who are abandoning their operations in Iran.

Federica Mogherini, European Union foreign policy chief, convened the crucial meeting with top diplomats from Germany, France, UK, Russia, China and Iran, as well as the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, two months after President Donald Trump's decision to pull the USA out of the deal.

The pillars of the European Union's strategy are: European Investment Bank lending, a special measure to shield EU companies from U.S. secondary sanctions, and a Commission proposal that EU governments make direct money transfers to Iran's central bank to avoid USA penalties.

In another phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron late on Thursday, Rouhani described Paris' efforts to save the nuclear deal as "positive" but noted that "Europe's proposed package for keeping up cooperation in the JCPOA does not meet all our expectations".

Zarif made the statement on Friday after meeting in Vienna with foreign ministers from countries that are still signatories to the multinational deal following the US' unilateral withdrawal in May. Washington has since told countries they must stop buying the OPEC producer's oil from November 4 or face financial consequences.

Their foreign ministers agreed on an 11-point list of joint goals in Vienna, where the accord was signed three years ago with the aim of stopping Iran from building the atomic bomb in return for sanctions relief that promised greater trade and investment.

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He said the European powers but also Russian Federation and China were working on coming up with a financial mechanism to mitigate planned tough USA sanctions. The principal benefit Iran has experienced under the deal is a doubling of its oil exports to around 2.8 million barrels a day.

The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday their forces were ready to implement Iran's threat to block the Strait of Hormuz and that if Iran can not sell its oil under the USA pressure, no other regional country will be allowed to.

The measure authorizes the bank to work with Iran starting in August, but it does not require it to do so. The bank now has a policy of not lending to Iran and other countries listed as high-risk by a global terrorism financing watchdog.

They also vowed to maintain financial channels, promote export credit cover and air, sea and overland transport links, and to work for the "the protection of companies from the extraterritorial effects of United States sanctions".

Beyond the European Investment Bank plan, other elements of the European economic package that Rohani criticized as insufficient include a special measure to shield EU companies from the US sanctions and a proposal for EU governments to make direct money transfers to Iran's central bank to avoid USA penalties. He promised to reinstate the previous anti-Iranian sanctions and even impose tighter ones.

Since Trump's announcement, Iran's rial currency has fallen, prices have risen and the country has been hit by street protests and strikes.

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