German security conference starting amid Iran deal friction

Posted at 4:54 AM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-15 04:54:13-05

MUNICH (AP) — More than 30 heads of state and government and 80 defense and foreign ministers are meeting in Munich for an annual security conference known for its frank exchanges and backroom diplomacy.

Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the U.S. delegation, set the tone in Warsaw on Thursday, accusing Britain, France and Germany of trying to "break" American sanctions on Iran and calling on them to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

But unlike in Warsaw, Iran will be represented in Munich. Its foreign minister, and top-level diplomats from Russia and China — as well as the defense ministers from the three European nations to preserve the nuclear deal — will be there.

Chancellor Angela Merkel leads Germany's delegation to the conference, which opens Friday.