Germany seeks talks with Iran to ease tension: FM

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-05 20:56:15|Editor: zh
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BERLIN, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass has said that he wants to seek talks with both Iran and key international partners to ease tensions following the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani.

Maas told the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag that "In the coming days, we will do all we can to work against a further escalation of the situation -- at the United Nations, in the EU and in a dialogue with our partners in the region, including talks with Iran."

Maas said on Friday that he was in close contact with his British and French counterparts, with the European Union's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell and with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Maas told the newspaper that the situation had become "more unpredictable," adding that any provocation could now lead to an uncontrollable spiral of violence, with unforeseeable consequences for the entire region and also for our security in Europe.

The German top diplomat put forward three goals: to avoid a war-like escalation, to preserve Iraq's stability and integrity, and to make sure that ISIS does not gain ground again.

Maas said Germany will continue to deploy around 120 troops in Iraq under the U.S. leadership, adding that the fight against ISIS is and remains in Germany's interest, and the German armed forces are providing important training to this end on the ground," Maas told the newspaper.

A U.S. drone attack ordered by President Donald Trump on Friday killed Qassem Soleimani, Iran's commander of Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Quds Force, instantly inflaming the already strained Washington-Tehran tensions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that "with no doubt, the Iranians will take revenge for this horrible crime."

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in a statement that it was up to Iran's leaders to make sure that the conflict in the region did not escalate further.

President Rouhani said Saturday that the United States will pay a heavy price for the assassination of Qassem Soleimani.

"Americans have taken a new approach that could put the region in a very dangerous situation," Rouhani said in a meeting with visiting Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Saturday.