China, Germany defend Iran business ties as US sanctions grip

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Following the meeting, which came hours after USA re-imposed sanctions on Tehran, on Wednesday the Iranian President stated that Tehran welcomed the prospect of pace and security through the Korean Peninsula in order to establish new trade links with the country. At current market rates, the imports are worth some $15 billion a year.

Iran has denounced as "U.S. unilateralism" the reimposition of sanctions in line with Trump's decision to pull out of the agreement over Iran's nuclear program.

"We are in solidarity with the European Union position, obviously we are closely monitoring this and we are doing everything possible on the diplomatic level to stimulate a direct dialogue between the United States and Iran, and we think that dialogue should always prevail", he said.

In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by an Iranian newspaper as saying that a USA plan to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero would not succeed.

The report said the two discussed significant global issues and mutual interests, likely including both country's ongoing nuclear negotiations with the US, and "welcomed further enhancement of relations", according to the state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

The sanctions go back into place after Trump in July threatened Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran's labor minister was sacked on Wednesday as the fall-out grew over the country's economic meltdown in the face of new United States sanctions.

The Iranian rial fell to a record low late last month, dropping in value by half since April, leading to sharp price increases and fast-rising inflation.

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"We want to see a much broader retreat by Iran from their support for worldwide terrorism, their belligerent military activity in the Middle East and their ballistic missile, nuclear-related programs", National Security Advisor John Bolton told Fox News.

"Our policy is based on a clear-eyed assessment of the Iranian dictatorship, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its continuing aggression in the Middle East and all around the world", the president said.

The DPRK foreign minister in response reiterated the praise for the two countries' longstanding relationship and agreed with the Iranian President's calls for strengthening ties.

Despite the political will to hold firm, many large European firms such as German automaker Daimler are leaving Iran for fear of U.S. penalties.

Few American companies do much business in Iran so the impact of sanctions mainly stems from Washington's ability to block European and Asian firms from trading there.

"Prices are rising again, but the reason is government corruption, not USA sanctions", said Ali, a 35-year-old decorator in Tehran.

The US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, welcomed the news. Petroleum-related transactions and transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran will also be affected. "But I would just suggest we have capabilities as well".

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