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Germany seeks to be a mediator in Iran-US relations

Policy director of Germany’s Foreign Ministry, Jens Plotner
Policy director of Germany’s Foreign Ministry, Jens Plotner [Germany in Greece/Facebook]

The policy director of Germany's Foreign Ministry, Jens Plotner, has been sent to Iran today to discuss the dire political situation and the possible collapse of the nuclear deal, according to reports by the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Plotner is to meet the Iranian Vice Foreign Minister, Seyed Abbas Aragchi, who was also one of the key negotiators in the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and prominent world powers consisting of the US, UK, Germany, France, China and Russia.

The visit comes amid rising tensions between Iran and the US along with its Arab allies in the Gulf in recent months, after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal last year. What followed was a long diplomatic spat and renewed enmities between the two countries, culminating in Iran's announcement earlier this month that it will curb some of the obligations it agreed on by discarding the limits on its levels of enriched uranium.

Since then, various European countries, including Britain and France, have threatened to pull out or re-impose sanctions on Iran if it violates the terms of the agreement. The European countries had said they would rescue the nuclear deal after Trump's withdrawal, setting up the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) to facilitate Iran's continuation of business in a manner that circumvents US sanctions. Their efforts, however, had limited effect.

READ: The US will proudly go to war with Iran for Saudi oil

This tense political atmosphere has sparked new fears of a potential war or direct conflict between Iran and the US, and comparisons to the US invasion of Iraq and its pre-war build-up have been predicted my many. This was particularly the case when threats of military conflict were exacerbated when President Trump claimed on Monday that Iran will be met with "great force" if it provokes the US.

German Foreign Ministry reportedly warned: "There is a high chance the situation will escalate … for example because of a misunderstanding or an incident."

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