(Persia Digest) - The European Union views German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’ idea of creating a European equivalent of the SWIFT payment system as a contribution to the efforts to preserve the Iran nuclear deal following the United States' withdrawal, an EU source told Sputnik on Wednesday.

“As part of the measures aimed at preserving the Iran nuclear deal, there is a goal to retain mechanisms to carry out financial operations that would let Iran continue benefiting from the agreement, it is an important part of the work … Various ideas [on the matter] are being voiced, and at present, one can say that it is an important contribution in terms of efforts to secure the Iran nuclear deal,” the source said when asked about the European Union’s attitude toward the proposal.

The source, however, declined to comment on whether the proposal would be considered at the EU level.

On Tuesday, Maas suggested in an op-ed for the Handelsblatt newspaper that Europe should set up payment channels independent from the United States and develop its own equivalent of the SWIFT system to shield its companies from US sanctions on Iran.

His statement came as the first batch of US sanctions on Iran, previously lifted under the nuclear deal, took effect last week. The sanctions target Tehran’s acquisition of dollar bank notes, trade in gold and other metals, transactions related to the Iranian rial, and purchases of cars and commercial passenger aircraft.

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The second wave of sanctions, which will target the oil and gas industry in Iran and its energy sector, as well as the transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, is slated for November.

Following the US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal, the European Union along with other signatories to the accord have repeatedly stressed their interest in preserving ties with Iran.

Since then, the European Commission has adopted an amended Blocking Statute and External Lending Mandate of the European Investment Bank to protect the interests of EU companies doing business with Iran. The statute bans European companies from fulfilling sanctions and allows them to ignore extraterritorial judicial verdicts.

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