BERLIN, May 11 (Reuters)
Germany is ready to help minimize the impact on its businesses of President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Friday.
"We are ready to talk to all the companies concerned about what we can do to minimize the negative consequences," Altmaier told Deutschlandfunk radio. "That means, it is concretely about damage limitation."
Germany had no immediate reason to change its Hermes export guarantee scheme for Iran.
"At the moment, there is no reason to change the valued Hermes scheme," Altmaier said. "We are just starting a conversation about what the economic implications are, and how we can avoid negative consequences for jobs in Germany."
He said Germany had no legal means of protecting German companies that do business in the United States.
"What we are doing, however, is to assist and advise these(German) companies active in Iran, which want to be active in Iran and to advise them, including legally," he added.
Of tensions with the United States over the Iran issue, Altmaier said: "It is rather like the trade conflict with regard to the announced tariffs for steel and aluminum... We must avoid entering into a spiral of escalation."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Iran's President Hassan Rouhani in a telephone call on Thursday that she supported maintaining the nuclear accord as long as Tehran upheld its side of the deal. French President Emmanuel Macron told Rouhani the same a day earlier.
Germany, France and Britain want talks to be held in a broader format on Iran's ballistic missile program and its regional activities, including in Syria and Yemen.