Iranian Plan to 'Airlift $350 Million' From Germany to Tehran Sparks U.S. Anger

The U.S. ambassador to Germany blasts Iranian bid to withdraw 300 million euros in cash to circumnavigate new sanctions

FILE PHOTO: A Money changer poses for the camera with a U.S dollar (R) and the amount being given when converting it into Iranian rials (L), at a currency exchange shop in Tehran's business district, Iran, January 20, 2016. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
\ TIMA/ REUTERS

The U.S. ambassador to Germany has called on Berlin to block an Iranian plan to withdraw 300 million euros ($350 million) of cash from bank accounts in Germany to offset the effect of new U.S. financial sanctions imposed after Washington withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal.

This comes after Washington recently announced new sanctions on Iran and ordered all countries to stop buying Iranian oil by November and foreign firms to stop doing business there or face U.S. blacklists. 

According to Die Zeit, Iran wants to fly the cash from Germany to Tehran in order to circumnavigate American sanctions.

Richard Grenell, a longtime critic of the nuclear accord with Iran, told the mass-circulation daily Bild that the U.S. government was extremely concerned about Tehran's plans to transfer the cash.

"We encourage the highest levels of the German government to intervene and stop the plan," Grenell told daily newspaper Bild.

Grenell has adopted a more outspoken role than his predecessor since arriving in Berlin in May, drawing criticism for what some German politicians view as meddling in German politics.

A German Finance Ministry spokeswoman on Monday said German authorities were examining the Iranian request. The ministry had no immediate comment's on Grenell's remarks.

Bild first reported on Monday that German authorities were considering a request by Iran to withdraw 300 million euros from bank accounts held in Germany and to transfer the cash to Iran.

U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies fear the money could be used to fund armed groups in the Middle East, but German government officials said they had no indications of such plans, Bild reported. 

The Deutsche Bundesbank, the central bank of the Federal Republic of Germany, is to pay out deposits of the state-owned European-Iranian Commercial Bank.