Rouhani, German diplomat to meet in effort to preserve Iran nuclear deal

Rouhani, German diplomat to meet in effort to preserve Iran nuclear deal
© ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Monday in a bid to preserve the fraying Iran nuclear deal, according to Reuters.

Tensions between Iran and western powers have increased in recent months, spurred largely by worsening relations between the U.S. and Iran. Now Western European participants in the 2015 nuclear deal, which the U.S. withdrew from last year, are attempting to salvage the pact, according to the news service, citing a German diplomatic source.

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The reported meeting is part of an attempt by Germany, France and Britain to keep the agreement intact after Iran announced earlier this year, on the anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal, that it would scale back some of its own commitments under the deal, according to Reuters.

“We Europeans are convinced that it is worth trying to keep the Vienna nuclear agreement with Iran,” Mass said in Iraq over the weekend on his way to Tehran.

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that while Tehran perceived the trip as a sign Germany wants to “keep the [arrangement] alive,” the nation does not view Maas as a broker between Iran and the U.S., saying “it is unlikely that the German foreign minister is traveling to Tehran to carry a special message,” according to Reuters, citing Iranian news service Fars.

Maas has already made stops in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates as part of his trip, which was coordinated with British and French officials and discussed with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Kim Kardashian West thanks Trump, Kushner for helping efforts to free A$AP Rocky from Swedish jail Trump directed officials to work to free rapper A$AP Rocky after arrest in Sweden: reports MORE. He is also scheduled to meet with Zarif while in Iran.

In addition to the back-and-forth over the nuclear deal, the U.S. has in recent months declared Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, the first time the designation has been applied to a state entity. In response, Tehran declared U.S. troops in the Middle East to be terrorists. National Security Adviser John BoltonJohn Robert BoltonThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Overnight Defense: US shoots down Iranian drone | Pentagon sending 500 more troops to Saudi Arabia | Trump mulls Turkey sanctions | Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract Trump to request review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract MORE also announced a U.S. carrier strike group would be deployed to the region in response to unspecified acts of aggression.