German minister to meet Iran’s Rouhani in bid to save nuclear pact

ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Germany’s foreign minister will meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Monday, a German diplomatic source said, as part of a concerted European effort to preserve Iran’s nuclear pact with world powers and defuse rising U.S.-Iranian tensions.

FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a meeting with a group of Iranian athletes, in Tehran, Iran, June 1, 2019. Official President website/Handout via REUTERS

A cautious thaw in long antagonistic relations between Tehran and Washington set in when Iran struck a 2015 deal with six big powers limiting its nuclear activity. But hostility has resurged since President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the accord in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Iran.

West European signatories, including Germany, want to try to keep the nuclear accord alive although they share the Trump administration’s disquiet about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its role in conflicts around in the Middle East.

Germany, France and Britain maintain that the nuclear pact remains the best way to limit Iran’s enrichment of uranium, a potential pathway to the development of nuclear weapons, and to seek agreement with Iran on other security issues in future.

“I can confirm that the (German) Foreign Minister will meet President Rouhani on Monday,” said the diplomatic source, giving no further details.

German Foreign Minister Heiko 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.

“We Europeans are convinced that it is worth trying to keep the Vienna nuclear agreement with Iran,” Maas said, adding he wanted dialogue even when disputes seemed insurmountable.

Washington has sent more military forces to the Middle East, including an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and Patriot missiles, in a show of force against what U.S. officials call Iranian threats to U.S. troops and interests in the region.

Last month, Iran scaled back some commitments under the 2015 deal and warned that in 60 days it would resume refining uranium to a higher fissile degree than that permitted by the accord if Europe failed to shield its trade benefits from U.S. sanctions.

Iran has always said its nuclear activity is peaceful and refuses to put its missile and military capabilities on the negotiating table, as the Trump administration has demanded.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by Fars news agency on Sunday as saying Maas’s trip to Tehran showed Germany was trying to “keep the (nuclear deal) alive”.

But, suggesting Tehran did not view Maas as a mediator between Tehran and Washington, he added: “It is unlikely that the German foreign minister is travelling to Tehran to carry a special message.”

The German foreign minister will also meet Zarif in Tehran.

Maas, who also stopped in Jordan and Abu Dhabi on his Middle East tour, has coordinated his trip with France and Britain and it also discussed it with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Mark Heinrich

Source

more recommended stories

  • Honduran president sends military to keep order after protests turn violent

    TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – Honduran President Juan.

  • Trump says he is ready to press China’s Xi on case of two detained Canadians

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald.

  • EU leaders may toughen climate goal for 2050, haggle over top jobs

    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The EU’s 28.

  • Turkey’s Erdogan says he believes U.N. will look into death of Egypt’s Mursi

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during.

  • Iran’s Guards shoot down U.S. ‘spy’ drone in southern province – Iran media

    DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s elite Revolutionary.

  • China’s Xi leaves for first state visit to North Korea

    FILE PHOTO: China’s President Xi Jinping.

  • OBJECTION! Ex-Trump aide Hicks tight-lipped in U.S. House interview

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hope Hicks, formerly.

  • U.N. report sees credible evidence linking Saudi crown prince to Khashoggi murder

    GENEVA/RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Crown Prince.

  • U.S. House Speaker Pelosi cites need to impeach Trump if wrongdoing found

    U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

  • Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq’s Basra, three hurt

    BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) – A rocket.

  • Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq’s Basra, two hurt

    BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) – A rocket.

  • China completes outer dome on overseas Hualong One reactor in Pakistan

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China has finished.

  • Women’s sex toy maker sues New York City subway, calls ad ban sexist

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A new.

  • EU delays decision on membership talks with Albania, North Macedonia

    LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – European Union governments.

  • In battleground state of Florida, Trump to launch re-election campaign

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump.

  • Democratic presidential hopeful Klobuchar details top policy goals

    FILE PHOTO: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

  • Former Egyptian president Mursi buried in Cairo, son says

    Policemen guard outside the cemetary where.

  • Exclusive: U.S. preparing to send more troops to Middle East – sources

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States.

  • U.S. military releases new images from oil tanker attacks

    A U.S. military image released by.

  • Triple suicide attack kills at least 30 in northeast Nigeria

    MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) – At least.

  • Stonewall uprising veterans still astounded 50 years after making history

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Time has.

  • Freed Hong Kong democracy activist joins mass calls for leader to quit

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – Activist Joshua.

  • In Algeria, conservatives weigh in against pressure for Western-style democracy

    HAIZER, Algeria (Reuters) – While tens.

  • Chinese activists seek U.N. investigation into Tiananmen crackdown

    FILE PHOTO: Thousands of people take.

  • German town backs Merkel’s CDU, rejects AfD in vote for mayor

    GOERLITZ, Germany (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela.

  • Massive blackout hobbles South America, one-third of power back in Argentina

    BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Power had.

  • ‘Sea of black’ Hong Kong protesters demand leader step down

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hundreds of.

  • Cricket: Pakistan PM Khan tells players to beat India with mental strength

    ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani prime minister.

  • Japanese police officer stabbed in possible targeted attack – NHK

    TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese police.

  • Magnitude 7.4 earthquake strikes Kermadec Islands in South Pacific: warning center

    MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A 7.4 magnitude.

  • Iran summons UK envoy over ‘unfounded’ tanker accusations

    FILE PHOTO: An oil tanker is.

  • Jailed British-Iranian aid worker in Iran starts hunger strike – husband

    LONDON (Reuters) – A British-Iranian aid.