Iran poses a danger to Israel's security

German Chancellor Merkel advocates more sanctions, tougher diplomacy against Teheran.

October 15, 2007 11:47
2 minute read.
Iran poses a danger to Israel's security

merkel putin 224.88. (photo credit: )

German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed the possibility of stronger sanctions against Iran before she met Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who planned to travel on to Teheran from Germany. Iran, Merkel was quoted by Army Radio as telling Putin, was a danger to Israel's security. The German leader said her talks with Putin would focus on the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program and the resolution of Kosovo's status. "We know that we can only solve major, global problems together," Merkel said. "We also know that we need to try to find a common path ... even if it is not always easy." The US push for stronger sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program has emerged as the theme likely to dominate the talks, with Putin set to visit Teheran after Monday's meeting. In an interview published earlier Monday, Merkel stressed that diplomacy is the way to solve the standoff with Teheran, but also stressed that further action would need to be taken if Iran refuses to budge. "We cannot close our eyes to the dangers," Merkel was quoted as telling the German daily Die Welt. "I believe that we need to solve the problem through diplomacy, but at the same time we must be prepared to enact further sanctions if Iran does not come around." Putin arrived late on Sunday, delayed by wet, snowy weather in Moscow. Before the meeting, Merkel stressed in her weekly video message "the necessity of new sanctions" against Iran - a source of potential friction with Russia, which is skeptical about efforts in the UN Security Council to impose a third set of sanctions against Teheran for its refusal to halt its uranium enrichment program. Any Russian show of support for Iran, such as a pledge by Putin to quickly complete the power plant, could embolden Iran and further cloud Moscow's relations with the West. Putin bluntly spelled out his disagreements with Washington, saying last week that he saw no "objective data" to prove Western claims that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. And at talks Friday with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, he ridiculed US plans for a missile defense system in eastern Europe, supposedly to stop an Iranian attack. Putin's visit to Teheran will be scrutinized for clues to Russia's future course. Moscow has helped Iran avoid tougher sanctions and is building the country's first nuclear reactor. But Russia has hedged its position by delaying completion of the plant, and urging Iran to comply with international controls on its nuclear program. In Moscow, a Kremlin spokeswoman said Putin had been told of a plot to assassinate him during his visit to Iran this week. The spokeswoman, who spoke Sunday on customary condition of anonymity, refused further comment. Interfax news agency, citing a source in Russia's security services, said suicide terrorists had been trained to carry out the assassination. A spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, denied any such plot had been uncovered, and he characterized the news as disinformation spread by adversaries hoping to spoil Russian-Iranian relations.

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