German FM: Nuclear Iran a threat to entire region

After meeting Barak, Westerwelle emphasizes shared concerns over Iran threat; defense minister lauds security cooperation.

September 9, 2012 15:31
1 minute read.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, German FM Guido Weste

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, German FM Guido Westerwelle 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Defense Ministry)

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle emphasized the concerns his country shared with Israel over Iran's nuclear program, following a meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday.

"A nuclear-armed Iran would not only pose a threat to Israel but to the stability of the entire region. A nuclear-armed Iran is not an option," he said.

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"We share the concern in Israel about the nuclear program in Iran,"  Westerwelle told reporters before his meeting with Barak.

He added that Germany would maintain sanctions and diplomatic pressure on Iran, adding that there was still room for diplomacy. "We urgently call on Iran to enter into substantial negotiations," he said.

"Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran is not an option," he added.

At a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Cyprus on Friday, Germany, Britain and France called for new EU sanctions against Iran.

"We greatly appreciate the German government's views on Iran," Barak said during the meeting, calling Germany a "leading partner" in the international effort to use diplomacy and sanctions to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

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Barak also lauded the close security cooperation between the two countries, specifically mentioning the signed contract for a sixth submarine.

He further thanked Germany for for its contribution in strengthening the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank and Gaza and in promoting peace and normalization.

"Israel's relationship with Germany is long-standing and based on a basic belief in democracy, value and memory, and we greatly appreciate your friendship," Barak told Westerwelle.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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