The story appears on

Page A9

June 11, 2019

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

US-Iran military escalation fears

Confrontation between Washington and Tehran is now “explosive” and could lead to military escalation, Germany’s foreign minister said yesterday, becoming the most senior Western official to visit Iran since a war of words erupted last month.

Iran accused the United States of waging economic war by reimposing and extending sanctions. It reassured Germany’s Heiko Maas that it still wants to work with European powers to salvage a deal to curb its nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions, which Washington abandoned a year ago.

European countries have found themselves caught in the middle as the US and Iran have taken increasingly aggressive postures in recent weeks.

“The situation in the region here is highly explosive and extremely serious,” Maas said. “A dangerous escalation of existing tensions can also lead to a military escalation.”

The UN watchdog says Iran is still abiding by the nuclear deal despite the US withdrawal.

“We had frank and serious talks with Maas,” said Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. “Tehran will cooperate with EU signatories of the deal to save it.”

Zarif blamed the US for the escalation. “Reducing tension is only possible through stopping the economic war by America,” he said. “Those who wage wars cannot expect to remain safe.”

Washington’s European allies opposed its decision last year to abandon the nuclear deal. They have promised to help Iran find other ways to trade, though with no success so far. All major European companies that had announced plans to invest in Iran have since called them off for fear of US punishment.

US President Donald Trump’s administration argues that the deal, reached under his predecessor Barack Obama, is not tough enough and Tehran can be forced to make more concessions with new sanctions. Europeans say this undermines the pragmatist faction in Iran’s leadership.

Iran says the Europeans have not done enough to provide it with alternative ways to engage economically with the outside world. Maas acknowledged limits to how much help the European countries can provide.

“We want to fulfil our obligations,” Maas said. “We cannot work miracles but we will try to avert a failure of the deal.”


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend