(Persia Digest) - European powers hope to broker a new round of negotiations between the United States and Iran in a bid to prevent the collapse of the 2015 nuclear deal, Germany’s top diplomat said Saturday.

"The latest escalation requires us as European neighbors to intervene in favor of de-escalation and peaceful coexistence,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters during an unannounced stop to Iraq. "We cannot just seek dialogue, we must lead it, precisely where the differences seem insurmountable and long-simmering conflicts run deep."

Joel Gehrke writes in The Washington Examiner that Maas arrived in Baghdad on the second leg of a four-day trip to the Middle East, which culminates in a visit to Tehran for meetings with Iranian officials on Monday. The tour is a part of a flurry of diplomatic activity that has taken place over the last month in light of tensions that caused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cancel meetings in Berlin to make his own surprise visit to Baghdad.

"There is a clear danger of miscalculations, misunderstandings, provocations leading to unforeseeable consequences in this highly tense region," Maas said.

U.S. officials have been on high alert in recent weeks, citing intelligence reports that Iran or Iran-controlled proxy forces intended to strike American positions in Iraq and elsewhere in the region. The tensions spiked after Trump revoked a pair of waivers in an effort to put a crimp in Iran’s development of key nuclear materials, a move followed by regime officials announcing that they planned to stockpile heavy water and low-enriched uranium in defiance of caps set by the 2015 pact.


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"We Europeans are convinced that it is worth every effort to work toward upholding the Vienna nuclear agreement with Iran," Maas said.

European leaders opposed Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, but they agree with American officials about the need to counter the regime’s regional aggression. But Iranian leaders are rebuffing European calls for talks related to ballistic missiles and other controversies.

“Under this circumstances, talking about issues beyond the deal ... will lead to further mistrust among the remaining signatories of the deal,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Friday.

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