German FM in Baghdad to de-escalate U.S.-Iran tensions, save Iran deal

June 8, 2019 20:22
1 minute read.
German Minister of Foreign Affairs Maas speaks at the Foreign Ministry in Iraq Dec. 17, 2018

German Minister of Foreign Affairs Maas speaks at the Foreign Ministry in Iraq Dec. 17, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/THAIER AL-SUDANI)

Germany’s Foreign Minister arrived in Iraq on Saturday as part of a trip to de-escalate US-Iran tensions and also focus on the Iran Deal. “Following the recent escalation, we are duty-bound as European neighbors to advocate de-escalation,” he said.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said that it was important to avoid miscalculations and misunderstandings in a tense region. He says that he views Iraq as an important “balancing course” between Iran and other countries. He wanted to “encourage the country in this position.” Iraq used to be dominated by Saddam Hussein who led Arab states in a war with Iran in the 1980s, but since 2003 it has increasingly grown closer to Iran.

Maas travelled to Iraq as part of an important Middle Eastern trip. Arriving at night in Jordan on Friday, he visited German soldiers in the Kingdom who are part of an anti-ISIS contingent. He was also scheduled to go to the UAE and Iran. The Iraq leg of the trip was not announced until he landed. Mass’s office said in a statement that it is important to use every effort to preserve the 2015 Iran Deal. He is also focusing on conflicts in Syria and Yemen through talks in the Gulf.

Maas is scheduled to arrive in Iran on Monday. He is supposed to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The Iraq part of the trip is important because Germany has played a role in the war against ISIS and also in training Iraqis, including Kurdish Peshmerga of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Iran’s IRNA said that the German diplomat spoke in Baghdad and underlined the importance of ending tensions and preserving the Iran Deal. He met with President Barham Salih and also Iraqi Prime Minister Adul Abdul-Mahdi. Germany’s parliament recently debated a ban on Hezbollah. The ban was not passed. Germany has been seen as relatively close to Iran over the last several years. It enthusiastically embraced trade after sanctions ended, but German trade has now been reduced around fifty percent with Tehran due to the new US sanctions, according to a May report in Radio Farda.

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