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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that his country is committed to the Iran nuclear deal even though Washington has pulled out.

"The nuclear agreement with Iran may not be perfect. But so far, it has prevented Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and averted an escalation that, three years ago, was highly likely," he told the General Assembly.

"That's not insignificant," he said. "We Europeans therefore stand together by the agreement."

"The fact that we stand by the JCPOA does not mean that we are turning a blind eye to Iran's destructive role in the region or to its ballistic missile program," said Maas, using the official name of the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision in May to withdraw from the nuclear deal and to re-impose sanctions on Iran.

Maas talked about measures to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran. "We are working on keeping economic exchange with Iran possible, and we call on Iran to continue to fully implement its commitments."

EU's foreign and security policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday that the European Union will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran.

The legal entity will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with EU law and could be open to other partners in the world, Mogherini told reporters in New York after she chaired a meeting of the foreign ministers from Iran and the five countries that are still committed to the deal.


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