Germany′s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas discusses Iran deal in Washington | News | DW | 23.05.2018
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Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas discusses Iran deal in Washington

German Foreign Minister Maas discussed the ongoing dispute over Iran at a meeting with his US counterpart Mike Pompeo in Washington. Ties between the two allies are already frayed by rows over climate change and trade.

Berlin is "determined to do everything necessary" to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran despite the US pullout, Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said while meeting US lawmakers at the start of his visit to Washington.

"We don't want any proliferation of nuclear weapons in our extended neighborhood," Maas stressed. Having a deal, according to Maas, is better than not having one, and fearing that Iran would restart its uranium enrichment program.

However, his words appear to keep falling on deaf ears. As he left his meeting with US President Donald Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton, the US' position remained unchanged. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whom Maas is due to meet later during his trip to Washington, said earlier that he would defend his country's position during an upcoming meeting in June with representatives from Germany, France and the UK - all signatories to the original Iran nuclear deal.

Both of the US politicians have vocally opposed the deal and show no signs of budging on the US walkout.

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US-Iran relationship: it's complicated

'The strongest sanctions in history'

On Tuesday, Pompeo also pledged the US would "apply unprecedented financial pressure" on Iran if it did not comply with US demands on disarmament. "These will be the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are done," Pompeo said.

The former CIA chief also said that America's European allies would eventually go along with the US plan due to "overlapping values and interests."

Read more: Iran calls EU efforts to save nuclear deal inadequate

Earlier this month, Maas sharply criticized the US stance on Iran, calling it a "disappointment." He added that Berlin was willing to "fight for our interests where necessary."

In addition to the Iran deal pullout, Germany and other US allies are irritated by Washington's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and by the threat of introducing tariffs on EU aluminum and steel.

Deep bond with the US

While meeting members of the US Congress on Tuesday, however, Maas seemed to moderate his stance.

"Our bond with the United States is close and deep, even if our opinions differ in some areas," he said in Washington.

At the same, Maas restated that the ties between the two allies were "undergoing a change."

The growing friction with the US saw Maas and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visit Moscow to ask Russia for help in salvaging the Iran deal.

Merkel is also expected to discuss the issue with China's Xi Jinping when she is in Beijing on Thursday.

dj,ss/jm (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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