German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Thursday that the global
community will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Westerwelle was
speaking to the Global Forum of the American Jewish Committee in
“The current Iranian nuclear program represents an enormous
danger not only to Israel but to the region as a whole,” Westerwelle
“We cannot and will not accept an Iranian nuclear weapon... We need
substantive and verifiable guarantees that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear
weapon,” he said.
Most western countries believe Iran is seeking to
produce a nuclear weapon, using a peaceful civilian energy program as
In contrast to Israeli concerns that talks with Iran will go
nowhere and only serve to buy Iran more time to develop its weapons program, the
German foreign minister emphasized that “our unity and our resolve are showing
Directly speaking to Israeli concerns, he made clear that “our
patience is limited.
We will not accept playing for time. We will not
accept talks for the sake of talks.”
Notably, Westerwelle remarked that
“the Iranian regime continues to threaten Israel with annihilation,” a point
which many international leaders, even those against Iran pursuing nuclear
weapons, avoid not wanting to encourage the message of an immediate crisis or
need for military action.
“I want you to know that we will continue to
stand by Israel’s side,” he told the audience. “We will not remain silent when
Israel is threatened or its legitimacy called into question. We will stand up
whenever Israel is unfairly singled out in multilateral fora. And we will
denounce any incitement against the State of Israel and its right to
Israel has refused to rule out a preemptive strike to set back or
disable Iran’s nuclear facilities. The last week showed an unusually public
debate between current government officials and former heads of the various arms
of Israel’s security establishment over the advisability of such a preemptive
The P5+1 group, the five permanent members of the UN Security
Council plus Germany, met with Iran in Istanbul last month after over a year of
a stalemate in negotiations. A further meeting is scheduled for Baghdad on May
Westerwelle also addressed Israel’s relations with many of its Arab
neighbors and the currently stalled peace process.
He stated that
Germany’s vision was of two states for two peoples “based on the 1967 lines with
agreed swaps.” Westerwelle continued that the “two-state solution is in Israel’s
own best interest to protect and strengthen the Jewish and democratic character”
of the state.
The German foreign minister said he agreed with President
Shimon Peres who recently called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a
“partner for peace.”
He also hailed the continued stability of the peace
treaties with Egypt and Jordan, which is how Israel has enjoyed “peace and
security with both of them for the past decades.” He added that everything
possible must be done to preserve these treaties.
Two weeks ago,
Westerwelle cautioned Egypt not to blow the recent gas crisis between Israel and
Egypt out of proportion and to ensure that the dispute is contained.