Merkel hails ‘big step forward’ on Iran at G7 summit

BIARRITZ, France — German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hailing what she describes as a “big step forward” on Iran at the Group of Seven summit.

G7 leaders held what Merkel describes as a constructive discussion on Iran Saturday night, which was followed by a surprise visit Sunday by Iran’s foreign minister for discussions with the French hosts.

Merkel says today: “It is a big step forward that we not only don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons, but we also (want to) achieve the solution by political means.”

Merkel is pressed by reporters on what progress she sees exactly, and on whether US President Donald Trump is prepared to accommodate any move toward alleviating sanctions against Iran. She replies: “I can’t say that at the moment. There is an atmosphere here in which talks are welcomed, in which talks between the Europeans and Iran and particularly France and Iran are welcomed — this is happening in coordination with the United States of America, and that is already a lot.”

US President Donald Trump, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, shake hands during a bilateral meeting at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

— AP

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