EU working ‘urgently’ to finalize payment channel for Iran

TEHRAN, Jan. 12 (MAN) – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Fri. that the European Union is working “urgently” to clarify the final requirements for setting up a payment channel to facilitate trade with Iran in the face of US sanctions.

In a DER SPIEGEL interview published on Friday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas lamented US rejection of multilateralism, an example of which was when Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and imposed sanctions. In response, the EU promised to establish a payment system that is independent of the dollar, to enable continued economic cooperation with Iran and bypass the US sanctions.

Asked about the current status of this payment system, Maas voiced hope that the EU would be able to finalize the payment channel in the coming weeks.

“We are working urgently to clarify the final requirements -- such as determining the country where the mechanism will be headquartered. That isn't easy in a confrontative situation with the US because it is, of course, trying to exert pressure.”

Asked about the reliability of the Americans as a partner for Germany and Europe, he said “we certainly can no longer assume that we will be involved in decisions, that we will be consulted.”

He referred to the US announcement to withdraw American troops from Syria as a recent example, adding “we were not informed in advance of the abrupt change in course. The UN was in the process of establishing a political process for Syria, we were engaged in negotiations about a constitution committee and things were actually looking quite positive. Trump could hardly have chosen a worse moment.”

“For Trump, the US is no longer the leading power among liberal democracies. He is more representative of unilateralism. That has long since become reality and it is something we have to deal with,” he maintained.

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