U.S. ambassador urges Germany to block Iran cash withdrawal
11 Jul 2018

The U.S. ambassador to Germany urged Berlin on Tuesday to stop Iran withdrawing large sums of cash from bank accounts in Germany to offset the effect of new U.S. sanctions imposed after Washington withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal.

Richard Grenell, a longtime critic of the accord, told the mass-circulation daily Bild that the U.S. government was extremely concerned about Tehran’s plans to transfer hundreds of millions of euros in cash to Iran.

“We encourage the highest levels of the German government to intervene and stop the plan,” Grenell said.

Iran curbed its nuclear activity under the deal and won relief from international sanctions.

The other signatories including U.S. allies Germany, France and Britain have reaffirmed the deal, seeing it as crucial to preventing a Iranian nuclear weapon.

Trump denounced it as badly flawed in Iran’s favor.

Grenell’s comment drew a rebuke from Johann Wadephul, deputy leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in parliament, who said the transaction should not be blocked on political grounds if it passed legal muster.

“The statement of the U.S. ambassador is once again unsettling and difficult to reconcile with his diplomatic role,” Wadephul told Reuters.

A German finance ministry spokeswoman said German authorities were examining the Iranian request according to clearly prescribed guidelines aimed at averting risks linked to money laundering or possible financing of extremist groups.

– By by Andrea Shalal, Andreas Rinke and Markus Wacket, Reuters, 10 July 2018.

Link to Reuters.

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