World, Middle East

Germany urges diplomacy to end US-Iran tensions

Chancellor Angela Merkel says every opportunity should be used to de-escalate tensions

Ayhan Şimşek   | 19.07.2019
Germany urges diplomacy to end US-Iran tensions

BERLIN 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday called for a diplomatic solution to soaring tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Merkel said she was worried about recent developments in the region.

“Every opportunity for a diplomatic contact should be sought to prevent an escalation,” she said, voicing support for French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to facilitate communications between Washington and Tehran.

The chancellor reaffirmed Berlin’s commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, and also urged Tehran to fully comply with the agreement.

“I believe that it is in the interest of Iran to continue complying with the agreement, and send a goodwill sign to the international community, even after one of the parties withdrew from the agreement,” she said.

The nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in 2015 between Iran and Russia, China, France, the U.K., and the U.S., plus Germany.

However, last year U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal and intensified pressure on Tehran by re-imposing sanctions targeting the country’s energy and banking sectors.

On Thursday, Trump said the U.S. had destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after it threatened an American warship, re-stoking fears of a military confrontation with Iran.

But later Iran’s Foreign Ministry denied the report, claiming that the Americans might have shot down their own drone.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran also escalated last month after two oil tankers were attacked in the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. held Iran responsible for the attacks and also accused them of destroying navigation devices in waters, both accusations denied by Iran.

Days later, Iran shot down a U.S. drone, claiming it had violated Iran's airspace. The U.S. claimed the drone had been over international waters.

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