Foreign Minister Steinmeier met his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, for talks in Tegel on Wednesday (15 June). Steinmeier underlined how worthwhile the “efforts, but more importantly the patience and perseverance” of both sides had been in the search for a solution. He said that the manner in which the long nuclear dispute with Iran had been resolved could serve as an example to current conflict‑resolution efforts in the region.
The negotiations between Iran and the international community about the Iranian nuclear programme took more than ten years. Not until the agreement reached in Vienna in July 2015, after more than a week of intensive negotiation, was the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme guaranteed. At the talks in Vienna, Steinmeier made it clear that the possibility of Iran accessing nuclear weapons was to be “unequivocally”, “verifiably” and “permanently” precluded. In return, as Steinmeier put it, the sanctions against Iran had to be lifted in stages. The German Foreign Minister has visited his counterpart in Tehran twice in recent months.
An example to peace efforts in the region
Steinmeier said that the patience and perseverance demonstrated in the nuclear negotiations with Iran stood “as an example” which may now provide “a basis for efforts of a very different sort”. At the meeting in Tegel, he underlined the “shared concern” for statehood and stability in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Iraq.
Steinmeier highlighted the vital importance of the planned political talks on resolving the conflict to accompany the establishment of a ceasefire and improvements in humanitarian aid for Syria. He said he hoped that the Syrian opposition would decide to attend the talks in Geneva and that the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria would soon find a suitable date to start a new round of talks.
Long‑standing German‑Iranian relations
The Foreign Ministers also discussed the long‑standing relations between Germany and Iran in the course of their meeting. At the press conference, Steinmeier commended the talks held to date and said it was essential to continue them in the interests of “reinvigorating those relations across the board: at the political and economic levels, it goes without saying – but we also want our relations to inhabit the social and intercultural spheres”.