While the US is busy saber-rattling in the Persian Gulf, Germany's foreign minister is working to preserve the Iran nuclear deal. DW takes a look at the timing of his visit, the various actors involved and their goals.

Why now?

The risk of war in the Persian Gulf is making everyone nervous. Over the past months, the administration of US President Donald Trump has tightened its sanctions against Iran as part of its campaign of "maximum pressure." Washington has claimed Iran is planning strikes on US targets in the region and accused it of being behind attacks on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The US has strengthened its military presence in the region and recalled much of its diplomatic personnel from Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iran's "strategic patience" is growing short: As of July 7, Tehran will no longer abide by all the requirements of the 2015 nuclear deal, unless European nations can find an effective way to economically incentivize Iran to stay in it despite US sanctions.

The big picture also includes an attack undertaken by Yemen's Houthi rebels , who are supported by Iran, on a strategically important oil facility in Saudi Arabia, Iran's chief regional rival.

What are the goals of the German Foreign Ministry?

In agreement with the United Kingdom and France, the other treaty signatories, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is trying to convince Iran to stay in the deal.Officially titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it came into effect in 2015 after hard-fought negotiations. In Tehran, Maas will push for "calm, reason and de-escalation," a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday. Maas will also try to walk Iran back from its July 7 ultimatum for European nations.

Go to link