Wed, 13 Nov 2019

The Munich Security Conference concludes on February 17, with a highly anticipated speech by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the schedule.

Zarif is expected to respond to efforts by the United States to persuade allies to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with six world powers.

The deal provides Tehran with relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

U.S. President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the accord, saying its terms were not strict enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and reimposed sanctions. Allies France, Germany, and Britain have said they will remain in the deal despite efforts so far by Washington to have them pull out.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on February 15 again called on the European allies to withdraw form the accord, saying at the conference that the time has come for our European partners to stand with us and with the Iranian people.'

Pence's comments came just moments after German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the agreement, calling the pact an 'anchor' that allows the West to exert pressure on Tehran.

Zarif is also expected to address comments by Pence after his visit to the memorial site of Auschwitz in Poland in which the vice president accused Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism.

In an interview with Germany's Spiegel magazine, Zarif called the allegations 'ridiculous,' adding that not 'even the U.S. vice president' should be allowed to exploit the Holocaust for his own purposes.

With reporting by dpa, AP, and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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