German FM traveling to Iran to salvage nuclear accord

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, left, welcomes United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, at the foreign ministry’s guest house Villa Borsig for talks in Berlin, Germany, Friday, May 31, 2019. Mike Pompeo is making his first visit to Germany as secretary of state at the start of a four-nation European trip as tensions rise between the U.S. and Iran. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, Pool)

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BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s foreign minister is traveling to Iran next week to discuss the faltering nuclear accord between Tehran and leading world powers, his office said Thursday.

Heiko Maas’ visit to Iran will be part of a broader trip to the Middle East starting Friday, with stops in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said.

Maas plans to meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif on Monday to discuss Tehran’s role in the restive region and the 2015 nuclear accord.

“We want to preserve this nuclear agreement because we believe it is a good agreement that prevents Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Adebahr said.

Maas discussed the trip with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a recent visit to Berlin, she said.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord last year and reinstated sanctions against Tehran, saying the agreement failed to sufficiently curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons or halt its support for groups that the U.S. says destabilize the Middle East.

Iran has threatened to also walk away from the deal unless the other signatories — China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain — take steps within the next month to neutralize the effect of U.S. sanctions.

Adebahr said Germany shares many of the U.S. concerns about Iran’s role in the region and its nuclear ambitions, but believes sticking to the accord is the best solution.

“I think it’s no secret that we currently have different views on the way to reaching a shared goal,” she said.

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