Germany's economy minister has dismissed criticism of his recent trip to Iran, saying Tehran's poor human rights record and refusal to recognize Israel aren't legitimate reasons to avoid doing business with the country.

Sigmar Gabriel says the sanctions against Iran were based solely on the nuclear dispute and now that is resolved it would be wrong to restrict economic ties with the country.

Jewish groups and opposition lawmakers have called on Germany to consider its special responsibility toward Israel, which considers the Islamic Republic a threat to its national security.

But Gabriel told reporters in Berlin on Thursday that despite Germany's strong support for Israel and human rights, refusing to do business with Iran would be seen as failing to reward the country for solving disputes through peaceful means.