In an interview with Spiegel magazine released on Friday, Germany’s top diplomat Heiko Maas spoke of what he called a “nuclear deal plus” with Iran that would also cover the country’s missile program and regional role, Press TV wrote.
Maas said “a return to the previous agreement will not be enough,” and “there will have to be a kind of ‘nuclear deal plus’, which is also in our interest.”
The German minister — whose country currently holds the presidency of the European Union (EU) — said the Europeans have “clear expectations for Iran: no nuclear weapons, but also no ballistic rocket program which threatens the whole region. Iran must also play another role in the region.”
"We need this accord because we distrust Iran," he added, according to AFP.
In response, Zarif took to Twitter later in the day to remind the European signatories to the Iran deal — Germany, France and Britain — of their own “malign behavior” in the Middle East region and failure to live up to their obligations under the multilateral nuclear deal following the US unilateral pullout in May 2018.
Before speaking about Iran, Zarif said, the European trio — also referred to as the E3 — should stop violations of the Iran deal, named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which has been ratified by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
"Here's what @HeikoMaas and E3 (Berlin, London and Paris) must do before speaking about what Iran should do," Zarif wrote on Twitter.
"Honor your obligations... and stop violating JCPOA. End YOUR malign behavior in OUR region: $100B arms sales to Persian Gulf and blind support for Israel terror."
Under intense pressure from Washington, the Europeans failed to fulfill their side of the bargain by neutralizing the sanctions that the US reimposed on Iran in the aftermath of its exit, which was meant to force Iran back to the negotiating table for expanding the deal to include the country’s missile program and regional role.
A year into Washington’s withdrawal and the ensuing European failure to protect its business ties with Iran, Tehran began suspending parts of its commitments under the JCPOA on a step by step basis in retaliation.
US president-elect Joe Biden has signaled that Washington could rejoin the deal as a starting point for follow-on negotiations if Iran returned to compliance.
But Zarif has rejected talk of reopening the 2015 deal, saying on Thursday: "We will not renegotiate a deal which we negotiated."
He added that Western powers should look to their own behavior before criticizing Iran.
He has also complained about what he has characterized as a lack of European outrage at the assassination of one of Iran's leading nuclear scientists Mohsen Fakhrizadeh outside Tehran last month – an attack Iran has blamed on Israel.