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Germany, Iran Take Tentative Steps Toward Reviving Trade

Iranian President Hassan Rohani (right) meets with German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel at the presidential office in Tehran on July 20.

Germany and Iran have moved tentatively toward reviving their once close trade relationship in anticipation of the lifting of Western economic sanctions against Tehran following a landmark nuclear deal.

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, making the first senior level German government visit to Tehran in 13 years, indicating on July 20 that a ministerial-level meeting of a long dormant German-Iranian economic commission would take place in Tehran during early 2016.

Gabriel announced the initiative during a meeting in Tehran with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh.

He then met with President Hassan Rohani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Upon his arrival in Tehran on July 19, Gabriel said closer economic ties depended upon Tehran improving relations with Israel.

He also said Germany and other Western countries expected Iran to assume "new responsibilities" following the nuclear deal, including a bigger role promoting the peaceful resolution of conflicts -- in particular in Syria.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa