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‘We distrust Iran’: Germany wants nuclear deal under Biden expanded to include Iranian ballistic missiles

‘We distrust Iran’: Germany wants nuclear deal under Biden expanded to include Iranian ballistic missiles
Germany’s foreign minister said on Friday that the country needs to renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal with the US, despite Tehran’s vow not to engage in new talks, but to return to the original agreement.

“A return to the previous agreement will not be enough,” Heiko Maas told Spiegel. “There will have to be a kind of ‘nuclear deal plus’, which is also in our interest.”

Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and US in 2015, which meant it accepted restrictions on its nuclear capabilities in return for relief from economic sanctions.

President Trump withdrew the US from the agreement in 2018, but talk of renegotiating the deal has grown recently as countries prepare for the possibility of Joe Biden becoming president.

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“The decisive factor will be whether the US relaxes economic sanctions against Iran,” Maas said on Friday. “Both sides must come together.”

He explained that Germany needed the deal “precisely because we distrust Iran,” demanding that Tehran ditch both nuclear weapons and its ballistic missile program, which he said “threatens” the Middle East.

But Maas’ Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Thursday that Tehran would not look to restart “two years of negotiations” with the US and other JCPOA signatories.

Zarif reiterated Iran’s previous position, that it would prefer to return to the original nuclear deal, which he claimed had not been upheld by European countries and the Trump administration, which he labeled a “rogue regime.”

Biden reaffirmed this week that if he succeeds Trump as president, then the US would return to the nuclear deal as part of “follow-on negotiations” on the premise that Iran has held up its side of the bargain. 

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