German FM Heiko Maas in Middle East bid to ease US-Iran tensions

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas arrived Saturday in Iraq, where he is set to hold talks with Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi and President Barham Salih over the increasing tensions between Iran and the US. Maas’s Iraq trip was previously not announced due to security reasons.

Maas was in Jordan on Friday for the first stop of his high-profile four-day Middle East tour.

He landed at Al-Asrak air base, where German troops center their operations against the “Islamic State” (IS) militant group.

The foreign minister will also visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran in the coming days.

According to the German Foreign Ministry, the purpose of Maas’s Middle East trip is to push for “calm and de-escalation” in the region, as he will explore options to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Maas will hear assessments of the situation from regional partners, the ministry said.

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