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Senior German Diplomat In Tehran To Press Iran On Nuclear Deal

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian attend a meeting at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, May 13, 2019.

A senior German diplomat is in Tehran to press Iran to continue to respect the landmark nuclear deal, despite the unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. and increasing sanctions' pressure from Washington.

The Foreign Ministry says Political Director Jens Ploetner is meeting with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi on Thursday.

The visit comes amid mounting tensions in the region. It also follows Iran's declaration earlier this month that the remaining signatories to the deal — Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia — have two months to develop a plan to shield Iran from American sanctions.

After the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or the 2015 nuclear, Iran has been pressuring Europe to set up a trade mechanism to help circumvent U.S. sanctions.

The three European signatories of the agreement have nominally set up a trade vehicle called INSTEX but it has not become operational; triggering Iranian dissatisfaction and a 60-day ultimatum.

The ministry says there's a "window for diplomacy to persuade Iran to continue its full compliance" with the deal and warns "there's a real risk of escalation — including due to misunderstandings or an incident."

Reporting by AP