Europe should look to bypass U.S. payment systems by creating its own financial channels, a European monetary fund and international bank transfer system like SWIFT, Germany's foreign minister has said.
Writing in the German Handelsblatt newspaper, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for the setting up of independent payment channels, largely as a way for European businesses to avoid U.S. sanctions targeting any firms -- whether inside or outside the U.S. – that do business with Iran.
"As Europeans, we have clearly told the Americans that we consider phasing out the nuclear deal with Iran a mistake.," Maas said in an op-ed for Handelsblatt on Wednesday. "Meanwhile, first U.S. sanctions are back in force. In this situation, it is of strategic importance that we clearly tell Washington: we want to work together. But we will not let you act over our heads. Therefore, it was right to protect European companies from legal sanctions," he said.