Heiko Maas has announced he will travel to Tehran next week in an effort to salvage the Iran nuclear deal. Maas, the first German diplomat to visit Iran in over two years, will meet counterpart Mohammad Zarif on Monday.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will travel to Tehran to meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Zarif, a ministry spokesperson announced Thursday.
It will be the first trip by a German minister to Iran in two-and-a-half years.
What’s on the agenda?
Maas will visit Iran on Monday as part of a three-country Middle East tour.
- The first stop will be Jordan on Friday, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Iran.
- The minister will push for “calm and deescalation” in the “crises of the region.”
- He will explore options to preserve the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.
- Maas will hear assessments of the situation from regional partners.
- Laying the groundwork
Maas, who “coordinated” his trip with London and Paris, will seek to glean information as to how exactly Germany can keep Iran in the deal. He also informed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of the trip when the US diplomat was in Berlin last week. A top Foreign Ministry advisor, Jens Ploetner, traveled to Tehran to lay the groundwork for Monday’s meeting two weeks ago, provoking US irritation.
Tightening the screws: After the US re-imposed sanctions on Iran, as well as countries and companies doing business with Iran, the government in Tehran threatened to pull out of part of the agreement unless partners could offer help to stem the pain of the US sanctions. Tehran has given them until Friday to offer solutions.
- Increasing aggressive US stance: The US has increasingly taken a more belligerent stance toward Tehran, most recently by deploying an aircraft carrier group, missiles, and a B-52 bomber squadron to the region, citing unspecified threats from Iran.