TEHRAN (Press Shia) – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned against increased rhetoric between Tehran and Washington, saying that Europe must lead talks between the two sides to scale down tensions and save the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
Maas arrived in Iraq Saturday to hold talks with Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi and President Barham Salih over the increasing tensions between Iran and the US. His Iraq trip was unannounced due to security reasons.
“There is a clear danger of miscalculations, misunderstandings, provocations leading to unforeseeable consequences in this highly tense region,” Maas said as he arrived in Baghdad, AP reported.
“The latest escalation requires us as European neighbors to intervene in favor of de-escalation and peaceful coexistence,” he added.
“We cannot just seek dialogue, we must lead it, precisely where the differences seem insurmountable and long-simmering conflicts run deep.
“We Europeans are convinced that it is worth every effort to work toward upholding the Vienna nuclear agreement with Iran.”
The focus of Maas’ Middle East trip will be his talks with Iranian officials in Tehran on Monday. After the US reimposed sanctions on Iran, the government in Tehran threatened to pull out of part of the nuclear deal unless other signatories could offer help to contain the effect of US sanctions.
Maria Adebahr, a spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry, said Berlin wanted to “preserve the nuclear agreement because we believe it is a good agreement that prevents Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
The German foreign minister reportedly coordinated his trip with the UK and France and informed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of the trip when the US diplomat was in Berlin last week. A top adviser, Jens Plotner, traveled from Berlin to Tehran two weeks ago to lay the groundwork for Monday’s meeting, provoking US irritation.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been rising since US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and imposed unilateral economic sanctions against Iran, mainly targeting its energy dealings on the global market.
Last week, Pompeo said Washington was willing to hold talks with Iran to lower tensions in the Persian Gulf “with no preconditions,” but Iranian officials have rejected the idea of holding any negotiations with the US unless Washington returns to the JCPOA and ends the policy of pressure.