TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Germany’s foreign minister arrived in Tehran on Sunday night to hold talks with President Hassan Rouhani and other senior officials on Monday.
Heiko Maas’s visit to Tehran is part of a concerted European effort to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
A German diplomatic source confirmed that Maas would meet with Rouhani as well as his counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to Reuters.
Maas warned during a weekend stopover in Iraq en route to Tehran about the dangers of any conflict with Iran for the entire Middle East, and said the Europeans were convinced it was worth trying to keep the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Zarif said on Sunday that Maas’s visit showed Germany was trying to “keep the (nuclear deal) alive”.
But, suggesting Iran did not view Maas as a mediator with Washington, he added, “It is unlikely that the German foreign minister is traveling to Tehran to carry a special message.”
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, US Secretary of State Mike 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.
On the first anniversary of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran announced that it would suspend the implementation of some of its commitments under the deal, announcing that it would stop exporting excess uranium and heavy water, setting a 60-day deadline for the five remaining parties to the deal to take practical measures towards ensuring its interests in the face of the American sanctions.