Germany urges restraint in Middle East

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday reaffirmed Germany's commitment to the Iran nuclear deal, saying the US withdrawal "serious" and caused regret and concerns.

"She condemned the overnight attacks by Iran against Israeli military positions at Golan Heights and called on Iran to contribute to de-escalation in the region", he also said.

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In her speech in Aachen, Merkel urged the European Union to strengthen its foreign and defence policy, arguing that Europe could no longer fully rely on the United States to protect it.

The escalation came after U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he had decided the pull the U.S. out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Europe must take its destiny in its own hands.

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The stakes are high and European powers France, Germany and Britain face a period of outright confrontation with a historic ally, over both Iran and Trump's plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the EU.

Many major global conflicts are happening "at Europe's doorstep", said Dr Merkel, who expressed concern about the risk of war between Israel and Iran over Syria.

Mr Macron echoed the call for Europe to stand united and show greater strength, at a time when the USA is going its own way in ditching the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, as well as threatening allies with punitive trade tariffs.

"The Europeans' decision allows us to prevent Iran from immediately restarting their (nuclear) activities and to avoid escalating tensions", he said.

The French President has pushed an agenda of huge Eurozone changes since taking charge of Paris in May 2017 - including introducing a European minister for finance, a separate Eurozone budget and parliament. "That's the task for the future". "We made the choice to build peace in the Middle East".

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