BERLIN – German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the Israeli government should stop talking about attacking Iran.

“In terms of military action against Iran this action is not illegitimate, but not wise,” de Maiziere said on Tuesday at the European Israeli Dialogue conference in Berlin.

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“It’s not only a question of what will happen the day after in Tel Aviv, it’s a question of what will happen elsewhere in the world.”

He also said that an additional result of an Israeli strike would be the emergence of new alliances with Iran.

“Of course, silent applause among some Arab countries will take place,” he said, adding that it could be in the interest of the Iranians to present themselves as victims, and that was not in Israel’s interest.

De Maiziere admitted that a military strike could delay Iran’s nuclear program for years.

“A delay is quite important,” he said. “There’s a lot of talk about winning time, and that’s not to be underestimated.”

Asked if Germany was going to follow Canada’s lead and cut off diplomatic relations with Iran, he said it was a pragmatic issue, not one of ethics.

“Canada chose the easiest way,” he explained. “We would not be allowed to stop diplomatic relations. On several occasions we have been asked by our friends to get information.”

De Maiziere said he had expressed his skepticism to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and other Israeli officials about the effectiveness of a military strike.

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