Donald Trump's pullout from the Iran deal caused long-term damage to ties between Washington and Berlin, Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Spiegel magazine. Germany is preparing a tougher line towards the US.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says Berlin is set to change its policy towards the US after Washington's walkout on the Iran nuclear deal. In the comments published by the German Spiegel magazine on Friday, Maas addressed the diplomatic crisis that saw Donald Trump ignore the appeals of the USA's European allies to keep the deal in place.
While Germany intends to continue seeking cooperation with the US, Maas said his country would take a tougher stance towards Washington.
"We are prepared to talk, negotiate and also fight for our interests where necessary," Maas told Spiegel. "This goes for all levels, not just for the White House."
In addition to the Iran dispute, Berlin is also at odds with Washington over plans to set up tariffs on metal exported from the EU.
Trouble in the US makes waves over the Atlantic
After Donald Trump announced the pullout on Tuesday, the leaders of Germany, France and the UK all scrambled to save the nuclear accord. Maas himself traveled to Moscow on Thursday where he urged Russia to use its influence with Tehran to ensure Iran's compliance to the deal.
Speaking to Spiegel, Maas said that the US-German ties started deteriorating long before the Iran withdrawal.
"The transformation which the US is undergoing had already taken hold of trans-Atlantic ties," he said. Germany felt the change "before Tuesday night's disappointment."
Maas' deputy, Niels Annen, also slammed Washington in the Spiegel article, saying the US had "very little willingness to take the arguments of its allies seriously."
The Iran deal withdrawal was the "wrong decision with grave long-term consequences for our relations," the deputy foreign minister said.
According to Annen, the dispute over Iran goes deeper than earlier trans-Atlantic crises — even the one sparked by refusal of Germany and France to take part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Donald Trump has changed the situation, Annen said.
"Now it's about core interests," he said.
Heiko Maas is set to attend an emergency meeting on saving the Iran deal with his colleagues from Germany and the UK on Tuesday. The three top diplomats are then set to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
dj/kms (dpa, Reuters)