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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

US-Europe compromise on Iran a long way off, German FM says

Mr Maas highlighted the 'great solidarity' of the 2015 deal's European signatories

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas waits for a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the US Department of State on May 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski‌ / AFP
Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas waits for a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the US Department of State on May 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski‌ / AFP

The United States and European countries remain "a long way from a compromise" on a new Iran nuclear deal after the US's withdrawal from the 2015 agreement, Germany's foreign affairs minister said on Wednesday.

"We are still a long way from a compromise, we take two completely different paths," Heiko Maas told reporters after a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Mr Pompeo on Monday presented a new US strategy on Iran following US President Donald Trump's controversial decision to pull out of the accord, signed in July 2015 by Iran along with China, the US, Britain, France, Russia and Germany.

That agreement lifted international sanctions in exchange for Tehran promising to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors.

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Mr Pompeo warned Iran would be hit with the "strongest sanctions in history" unless it adhered to stricter terms, including ending its ballistic missile programme and its interventions in regional conflicts from Yemen to Syria.

On Wednesday, Mr Maas highlighted the "great solidarity" of the 2015 deal's European signatories and the European Union in continuing to enforce that agreement while negotiating with Iran on an expanded deal.

France's foreign affairs minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, meanwhile warned that the US's approach risks further destabilising the Middle East.

"The sanctions to be launched against Iran will not foster dialogue. On the contrary, they will boost the importance and power of Iran's conservatives and weaken president [Hassan] Rouhani, who wanted to negotiate," Me Le Drian told France Inter radio. "Ultimately, this stance is likely to put the region in further danger than it is today."

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