BERLIN - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Monday he plans to travel to Iran in October, sending a strong signal that Europe's largest economy wants to quickly rebuild economic and political ties with the Islamic Republic.
Steinmeier's visit follows on from a three-day trip last month by Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who became the first senior figure from a large Western government to visit Tehran since it struck a landmark nuclear agreement with world powers.
Under the July 14 deal, agreed after more than a decade of negotiations, US, EU, and UN sanctions will be lifted in return for Tehran imposing long-term curbs on nuclear activities which the West has suspected are aimed at making an atomic bomb.
"I will be in Iran in October," Steinmeier said at the opening of a diplomatic conference in Berlin on Monday. A foreign ministry spokesman said talks about the trip were just starting and he could not give any concrete details.
Western politicians have hurried to visit Tehran to reinvigorate business and diplomatic ties since the nuclear agreement. On Sunday, Britain reopened its embassy in Tehran.
While the nuclear deal is seen as a major opportunity by some, including US President Barack Obama, hardliners in Washington and Tehran have opposed it, as has Israel.
Steinmeier said he understood the concerns of Israel and some Gulf countries about the agreement, but stressed that the deal would mean more, not less security, for the Middle East.