TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran's vice president acknowledged on Tuesday that U.S. sanctions would hurt the economy, but promised to "sell as much oil as we can" and protect banking.
Es’haq Jahangiri said Washington was trying to stop Iran's petrochemical, steel and copper exports. "America seeks to reduce Iran's oil sales, our vital source of income, to zero," he said, according to Fars news agency.
"It would be a mistake to think the U.S. economic war against Iran will have no impact," Jahangiri added.
President Donald Trump said in May he would pull the United States out of an international accord under which Tehran had agreed to limit its nuclear development in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
Trump said he would reintroduce sanctions and Washington later told countries they must stop buying Iran’s oil from Nov. 4 or face financial consequences.
On Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador to Germany also called on Berlin to block an Iranian bid to withdraw large sums of cash from bank accounts in Germany.
"We encourage the highest levels of the German government to intervene and stop the plan," Richard Grenell, a longtime critic of the accord, told the mass-circulation daily Bild.
A German Finance Ministry spokeswoman on Monday said German authorities were examining the Iranian request.
Bild first reported on Monday that German authorities were considering a request by Iran to withdraw 300 million euros ($350 million) from bank accounts held in Germany and to transfer the cash to Iran.
Jahangiri said Iran’s foreign ministry and the central bank have taken measures to facilitate Iran’s banking operations despite the U.S. sanctions. He did not elaborate.
European powers which still support the nuclear deal say they will do more to encourage their businesses to remain engaged with Iran - though a number of firms have already said they plan to pull out.
Foreign ministers from the five remaining signatory countries to the nuclear deal - Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia - offered a package of economic measures to Iran on Friday but Tehran said they did not go far enough.
"We think the Europeans will act in a way to meet the Iranian demands, but we should wait and see," Jahangiri said.
Dutch airline KLM, however, said on Saturday it had decided to suspend its direct flights to Tehran "for commercial reasons.”
"As a result of the negative results and financial outlook for the Tehran operation, the last flight will take off from Amsterdam on 22 September 2018 and land at Schiphol on 23 September,” it said in a short statement on its website.
KLM resumed flights to Tehran in 2016 when the nuclear agreement signed between Iran and world countries came into effect. The Dutch airline had ceased its Iran operations in 2013 after the West intensified sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Austrian Airlines also announced on Friday that it will stop service to the Iranian cities of Isfahan and Shiraz, starting in September, but will continue its flights to Tehran.
"The underlying reason for these changes in the route network is a realignment of the airline’s portfolio,” a statement said on the official website of Austrian Airlines which is owned by the German airline company Lufthansa.
Austrian Airlines announced its expansion of flights to Shiraz and Isfahan in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The exodus of European companies is a blow to their governments’ efforts to keep Iran in the nuclear agreement.
Europe has pledged to put together an economic package for Iran so that the country benefits from staying in the deal but France said on Friday the offer was unlikely to come by before November.
Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said the Europeans would not be able to fully compensate for companies leaving Iran due to new US sanctions.
Jahangiri said the U.S. pressure on Iran came as the United States launched an "economic war with China and even its allies", referring to trade tensions between Washington and many of its main trading partners.
He also accused Washington of trying to use the economic pressure to provoke street protests in Iran.
On Monday, the U.S. government said it has sanctioned a Malaysia-based tourism agent for Iranian private airline Mahan Air which is already under American sanctions.
"As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of Mahan Travel and Tourism Sdn Bhd that are or come within U.S. jurisdiction are blocked,” the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement.