German business with Iran down sharply as US sanctions bite

A German business group says German companies' trade with Iran has declined sharply as the United States turns up the economic heat on Tehran.

Volker Treier, the foreign trade chief of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, told news agency dpa in comments published Sunday that German exports to Iran were down 50 percent in year-on-year terms in the first quarter, while Iranian exports to Germany dropped some 42 percent.

Treier said that, of 120 German companies that were active in Iran, only 60 are still in the country. He said that "the U.S. sanctions affect economic relations like a full embargo because the financial sector is affected."

The Trump administration withdrew last year from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, and reinstated sanctions.