TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Wednesday it was hard to imagine new talks with the US after it lost the trust of the world with its erratic decision-making.

“Imagine negotiating now - how can we trust them?” Zarif told reporters on state broadcaster IRINN. “America has zig-zagged constantly, so now no one trusts them.”

Zarif was speaking a day after Washington reimposed a first tranche of harsh sanctions following its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal. President Donald Trump says he wants talks with Iran on a new deal covering the full range of its “malign behaviour” in the region, which has been dismissed by Iran.

“There is a big difference this time,” said Zarif.

“Before nobody supported Iran. But now, all the countries in the world are supporting Iran.”

Germany warns sanctions could cause ‘chaos’

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned Wednesday that US President Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran could further destabilise the Middle East and boost radical forces in the region.

Trump brought back the punishing sanctions after unilaterally pulling out of a landmark 2015 deal between Tehran and Western powers to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “We still think that it is a mistake to give up on the nuclear accord with Iran,” Maas said in an interview with the daily Passauer Neue Presse.

“We are fighting for the deal because it also serves our purpose by bringing about security and transparency in the region.” Noting Iran’s geographic proximity to Europe, Maas warned that “anyone who’s hoping for regime change must not forget that whatever follows could bring us much bigger problems.”

“Isolating Iran could boost radical and fundamentalist forces,” he said, adding that “chaos in Iran, as we have experienced in Iraq or Libya, would further destabilise an already troubled region.” In a desperate bid to save the nuclear accord, European governments have pledged to do what they can to keep business links with Tehran.

Despite the political will to hold firm, many large European firms such as German automaker Daimler are leaving Iran for fear of US penalties. The US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, welcomed the news.

“We are pleased to see German businesses stopping their trade with Iran, complying with U.S. sanctions, and helping pressure the Iranian regime back to the table,” he tweeted. “We stand together to stop Iran’s malign activities.” Europeans, also signatories to the JCPOA agreement, have said they are determined to save the text, with the EU saying on Tuesday it aimed to “protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran.”

The first wave of US sanctions took effect on Tuesday. It includes blockages on financial transactions and imports of raw materials, as well as penalizing measures on purchases in the automotive sector and commercial aviation.

It will be followed in November by other measures affecting the oil and gas sector as well as the Central Bank.