Amid the ongoing US-Iran crisis German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Saturday in her first visit since May 2018. Crucially it also comes the same day Iran's leadership admitted to shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane amid launching ballistic missiles on US bases in Iraq, killing all 176 passengers and crew.
Also topping the agenda for the Saturday afternoon working meeting was Syria and Libya. But the Iran nuclear deal was front and center, with both leaders agreeing they must seek to preserve the 2015 JCPOA "by all means".
Merkel stressed to reporters soon after coming out of talks with Putin that “everything must be done to keep the JCPOA going” and committed to using “all the diplomatic tools to help this agreement.” She explained further, "It is not perfect but it is still an agreement and it involves responsibilities for all the parties involved. And we want to keep it."
“We agreed that we should do anything to preserve the deal, the JCPOA. Germany is convinced that Iran should not acquire or have nuclear weapons," Merkel said during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
This after within the past two weeks as Washington and Tehran essentially enter open war, Iran's leaders have declared they consider "no limits" are currently in place on their nuclear energy program, which they've said remains for peaceful purposes.
Putin also said the “tremendously important” deal must be preserved and that all parties must “come back to the deal” in statements chiefly aimed at the United States. Putin said to reporters, according to the early Russian media translation:
"After the US refused to abide by the agreement, Iran announced suspension of its obligations as well. I would like to underscore that these obligations were voluntarily embraced by Iran. Iran is ready to come back to full compliance with the JPCOA."
And addressing the European initiative to set up a "SWIFT alternative" special payment vehicle for Iran, Putin expressed optimism that INSTEX would seen be “be up and running” and the European nations “would deliver on their promise to create an independent mechanism free of the dollar influence.”
Though the Ukraine crisis has remained a point of tension and damaged relations between Moscow and Berlin, both have lately been critical of the January 2nd US drone strike on Iran's Gen. Soleimani.
The Russian Foreign Ministry previously condemned it as "reckless" while German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Rainer Breul somewhat more ambiguously agreed, saying that "information that would allow us to see that the US attack was based on international law."
On Friday the Trump administration imposed new economic sanctions on Iran, however, most analysts are now in agreement that the end result of the past two chaotic weeks of soaring tensions, most especially the Soleimani assassination, will only push Iran further away from the 2015 agreement brokered under Obama.