Germany Hosts Iranian FM Despite Vow Not to Normalize Ties

Then Times of Israel reports: Germany’s foreign minister on Wednesday welcomed his Iranian counterpart for a bilateral meeting in Berlin, seemingly defying Chancellor Angela Merkel’s earlier commitment to not normalize relations with Tehran as long as the regime refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosted Mohammad Javad Zarif at a castle belonging to the Foreign Ministry outside Berlin, in what marked the first time Germany hosted the Iranian top diplomat for bilateral talks.

According to Germany’s Foreign Ministry, the two men discussed Iranian-German relations, regional issues such as the civil war in Syria, and the implementation of the nuclear deal six world powers struck with Iran last year. After their discussion, Steinmeier hosted Zarif at an iftar dinner to break the fast of Ramadan at Villa Borsig.

“We had good discussions, discussions that aren’t easy but necessary as we undertake to renew our relations,” Steinmeier said at a joint press conference. “We can build on a good and long history of German-Iranian relations. And I can say for Germany: We want the renewal of these relations in their entire range: politically and economically, but also culturally and between societies.”

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