Hamburg's warehouse district was a major hub for the trade in Persian carpets. But business has been slow due to economic sanctions on Iran. However, carpet dealers expect that will soon change, opening up huge new markets for the exotic rugs.
On Monday, fresh US sanctions against Iran come into effect, the next salvo in its economic conflict with Tehran. The main targets are oil exports and the financial sector. Europe is having difficulty forming a response.
Trump's ploy to force countries to choose between doing business with the US or Iran is working. While German firms in Iran have been preparing for months for the sanctions, the outflow of companies is not slowing down.
German authorities have started investigating an Iranian government plan to fly out hundreds of millions of euros from Hamburg to Tehran. German lawmakers have accused the US of "improperly exerting pressure" on Berlin.
The Trump administration has reimposed the first tranche of sanctions on Iran, isolating Washington as much as Tehran. A second round of US sanctions in November will target Iran's energy sector.
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