German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Sunday kicked off his three-day Iran visit, urging Tehran to improve its relations with Israel in order to establish stronger ties with the West.
Gabriel, who is the first senior official from main world powers to visit Tehran since it achieved a landmark agreement with the West on its nuclear programme last week, said Germany also expects Iran to heal its relations with Israel.
After long-lasting marathon talks, Iran and the P5+ 1 countries, consisting of the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, agreed on a final nuclear deal on July 14 in Vienna. The deal suggests Iran to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the removal of UN sanctions and arms embargo over the country.
However, Israel, foremost Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who strongly opposed a possible nuclear deal with Tehran from the very beginning, believes the nuclear agreement would "pave Iran's path to a nuclear arsenal."
Iran and Israel have long been confronting in their security rhetoric in the region where Israel is believed to be the only nuclear power whereas Iran was accused to have been secretly obtaining the nuclear weapons.
After an agreement reached, Germany seeks to win new business opportunities in Iran after a 12-year standoff over Tehran’s nuclear programme sharply reduced trade and investment.
Gabriel said he would meet with human rights representatives in Iran, a country which the United Nations blames for human rights violations against women, religious minorities, journalists and activists.
He will also meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and several other ministers before he completes his three-day visit.