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Germany hosts France, Britain for Iran nuclear talks

November 23, 2020

German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass met his counterparts Dominic Raab and Jean-Yves Le Drian in Berlin for talks on the Iran nuclear deal. The trio hopes for a change in US policy once Joe Biden is sworn in.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stands in front of US and EU flags
Image: Jens Meyer/AP Photo/picture alliance

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas held talks with his French and British counterparts in Berlin on Monday, with the partners urging Iran to stop breaching a nuclear deal it signed in 2015.

"From our view, Iran is systematically violating the agreement," a spokeswoman with the German Foreign Ministry said. "Together with our European partners, we urge Iran to stop these violations and return to fulfilling all its nuclear obligations."

Maas met with Britain's Dominic Raab and France's top diplomat Jean-Yves le Drian ahead of an expected change of policy towards Iran when US President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as president in January.

Maas's spokeswoman said she "confident" that a "constructive" US approach would help rein in the Iranian government, German news agency DPA reported.

The agreement, which world powers reached with Iran, sought to limit Tehran’s nuclear program to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons in return for the easing of economic sanctions.

US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018, slapping fresh sanctions on Iran.

Tehran has repeatedly breached limits on enriching uranium set in the nuclear agreement in what it portrays as a calculated and justified response to Trump's decision.

US President-elect Joe Biden speaks
Joe Biden wants bring the US back into the Iran deal — but with certain conditionsImage: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo/picture alliance

Changing US policy

Biden, who takes office on January 20, has said he would re-join the accord if Tehran first resumed strict compliance.

He wants to work with allies "to strengthen and extend it, while more effectively pushing back against Iran’s other destabilizing activities."

But the deal did not restrict Iran's ballistic missile program nor curb its support for militia forces in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen — which Washington sees as destabilizing to the Middle East.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that there "must be no return to the previous nuclear agreement."

"We must stick to an uncompromising policy to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons," he said in a thinly-veiled swipe at President-elect Biden.

European powers party to the agreement, along with Russia and China, have been trying to hold the deal together since Trump's pullout.

Iran denies that its atomic program is aimed at developing weapons.

jf/rs (dpa, Reuters)

Iran nuclear deal