German FM warns against military escalation with Iran

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has warned against a military escalation of the nuclear conflict in view of Iran’s increased uranium enrichment, local media reported Tuesday.

“Everyone must act responsibly now, otherwise there is a danger that we will miss the exit to peaceful conflict resolution,” the German foreign minister told the Funke Media Group newspapers.

Over the weekend, Iran had put more powerful uranium enrichment centrifuges into operation, a violation against an agreement in the 2015 Vienna Nuclear Accord.

The level of uranium enrichment was a central point of the Vienna agreement, which was intended to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Maas called on the Iranian government to return to “full compliance” with the nuclear agreement.

The German foreign minister noted that while it was still possible to find a solution, “we Europeans cannot do this on our own, while the others are pushing their luck.”

In the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran was promised a normalization in economic relations in return for not developing nuclear weapons. However, the United States withdrew unilaterally from the agreement in May 2018.

Since then, the U.S. government has relied on a policy of “maximum pressure” through sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, which are its main source of income.

The U.S. government has been trying to force the Iranian government to negotiate a new nuclear agreement with tougher conditions.

The European contracting parties — France, Britain and Germany — have been seeking a way to circumvent the U.S.-imposed sanctions to trade with Iran.