German foreign minister plans Iran visit to try to save nuclear deal

Berlin -By Michael Fischer, - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is to travel to Iran in an effort to rescue the nuclear deal that aims to prevent the country from acquiring a nuclear bomb, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Maas is to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif on Monday at the climax of a four-day trip through the Middle East, a spokeswoman said.
The foreign minister is to stop off in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday to hold talks on the war in Yemen, where the UAE and Saudi Arabia are backing the government against Houthi rebels supported by Iran.
He will also pay a visit to Jordan.
Maas will be the first German government minister to visit Iran in two and a half years. His trip follows that of Jens Ploetner, one of his top advisers, two weeks ago to prepare the visit.
Foreign Ministry sources said Ploetner's trip had provoked irritation in the United States.
In May last year, the US withdrew from the nuclear deal, struck in 2015 with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, citing Iranian involvement in conflicts throughout the Middle East.
US sanctions on Iran and on countries doing business with Iran followed as the European parties to the deal tried to keep it alive.
Last month, a year after the US withdrawal, Iran announced its own measures, saying it would no longer ship enriched uranium out of the country and would resume enrichment to higher levels, setting Friday as a deadline for signatories to the deal to respond.
By that date, China, France, Britain and Germany should ensure the economic benefits granted to Iran under the 2015 deal. Banks, oil companies and others have withdrawn from Iran for fear of secondary US sanctions.


Thursday, June 6th 2019
By Michael Fischer,

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