German FM to visit Iran in bid to salvage nuclear accord

BERLIN — Germany’s foreign minister is traveling to Iran next week to discuss the faltering nuclear accord between Tehran and leading world powers, his office says.

Heiko Maas’s visit to Iran will be part of a broader trip to the Middle East starting Friday, with stops in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr says.

Maas plans to meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif on Monday to discuss Tehran’s role in the restive region and the 2015 nuclear accord.

“We want to preserve this nuclear agreement because we believe it is a good agreement that prevents Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Adebahr says.

Maas discussed the trip with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a recent visit to Berlin, she says.

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord last year and reinstated sanctions against Tehran, saying the agreement failed to sufficiently curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons or halt its support for groups that the US says destabilize the Middle East.

Iran has threatened to also walk away from the deal unless the other signatories — China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain — take steps within the next month to neutralize the effect of US sanctions.

Adebahr says Germany shares many of the US concerns about Iran’s role in the region and its nuclear ambitions, but believes sticking to the accord is the best solution.

“I think it’s no secret that we currently have different views on the way to reaching a shared goal,” she says.

— AP

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after a meeting at Villa Borsig in north Berlin on May 31, 2019. (Odd Andersen/AFP)

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