BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday that he will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss Washington's position on the nuclear deal with Iran.
The Trump administration on Monday demanded that Iran make wholesale changes in its military and regional policies or face "the strongest sanctions in history."
The comments came as Washington tries to increase pressure on Tehran after President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the international nuclear deal.
"I will travel on to Washington and meet Mike Pompeo on Wednesday, and use the opportunity to talk to him directly about this," Maas said when he was asked by reporter about the Iran deal at the end of a Group of 20 meeting in Argentina's capital.
In a speech Monday, Pompeo called Iran out for a wide range of "malign activities" apart from its nuclear program and demanded the negotiation of a new deal that goes far beyond the single focus of the 2015 agreement and that would have the status of a formal treaty.
The 2015 deal concluded under the Obama administration dealt only with the nuclear program and was not a treaty but rather a U.N.-endorsed executive agreement between the parties.
Maas said Germany was not surprised by Pompeo's speech because it "contained many elements" of the statement issued by Trump.
"Iran is in our wider neighborhood, and since we don't see any better alternative at present, this is why we don't want to leave the deal," Haas said. "We don't want Iran to engage in a nuclear weapons program. This affects immediate security interests of Germany and security interests of Europe."
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took to Twitter on Monday to criticize Pompeo's speech, calling U.S. diplomacy a "sham" that is "imprisoned by delusions & failed policies."