German Foreign Minister to Visit Iran in October

August 25, 2015  

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Monday he plans to travel to Iran in October, the latest sign that Europe’s largest economy wants to quickly rebuild economic and political ties with the Islamic Republic, reports the Reuters news agency.

Steinmeier’s visit follows a three-day trip last month by Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who became the first senior figure from a large Western government to visit Tehran since it struck a landmark nuclear agreement with world powers.

“I will be in Iran in October,” Steinmeier said at the opening of a diplomatic conference in Berlin on Monday, according to Reuters.

A foreign ministry spokesman said talks about the trip were just starting and he could not give any concrete details.

Germany has commercial and cultural links in Iran that go back to the 19th century. German firms were involved in almost every major industrial project in Iran until its 1979 Islamic Revolution, including the Trans-Iranian railway.

Steinmeier said he understood the concerns of Israel and some Gulf countries about the agreement, but stressed that the deal would mean more, not less security, for the Middle East.

Following his July visit to Tehran, Gabriel faced criticism local Jewish groups and opposition lawmakers, but he brushed it off, saying the earlier sanctions against Iran only had “one concrete reason and that was the nuclear negotiations.”

Gabriel’s visit was followed by visits to Tehran from officials from Italy, France, and Serbia. After the deal was signed, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini announced that she would visit Iran as well.

And earlier this week, Britain reopened its embassy in Tehran in a step of rapprochement, four years after an Iranian mob said to be directed by the government stormed the compound, forcing its closure.

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