Germany: Iran ‘playing with fire,’ appears to be seeking escalation

Foreign ministers from European powers and the United States are holding talks exploring ways to revive the 2015 deal on Iran’s nuclear drive, days ahead of a deadline set by Tehran that could pose a new obstacle.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian hosts his German and British counterparts in Paris, with America’s new Secretary of State Antony Blinken joining via videoconference.

Analysts say only a small window of opportunity remains to save the deal, which received a near-fatal blow when former US president Donald Trump walked out of the accord in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

Tehran retaliated by stepping up nuclear work in violation of the accord.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas puts on his face mask at the end of a press conference in Berlin, Germany, December 21, 2020. (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)

The three European ministers are scheduled to meet from 1500 GMT, with Blinken joining by video conference from Washington at 1630 GMT.

“The recent steps of Iran are not helpful at all, they endanger the return of the Americans” to the deal, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tells reporters in Paris.

“Apparently Iran is not interested in easing the tensions, but in escalation. They are playing with fire,” he says.

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