Germany vows to prevent Iranian nuclear weapons

German foreign minister: The conflict over Iran's nuclear program remains; the problem is not solved.

german fm steinmeir 298  (photo credit: AP)
german fm steinmeir 298
(photo credit: AP)
Germany's foreign minister on Thursday said the international community remains determined to prevent Iran from developing technology for nuclear weapons. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke before a briefing by Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, on ElBaradei's recent meeting with top Iranian leaders on the nuclear standoff. Germany and the five permanent Security Council members plan to meet Tuesday in Berlin for talks that diplomats said will include attempts to iron out differences on the language and timing of a third set of UN sanctions for Teheran's refusal to freeze uranium enrichment and meet other council demands. "The conflict over Iran's nuclear program remains ... on the agenda" despite last month's US intelligence assessment that Tehran stopped active work on a nuclear weapons program in 2003, he said. "The problem is not solved." Urging Iran to "resurrect international confidence" in its nuclear intentions, Steinmeier said the international community "cannot and will not allow that technology for nuclear weapons be developed in this region." He was alluding primarily to uranium enrichment, which Iran says it wants to develop to be able to generate nuclear power, but which also can create the fissile core of nuclear warheads. Iran refuses to mothball the program despite two sets of UN sanctions. Opposition from Russia and China to quick and harsh new sanctions has increased in the wake of the US intelligence estimate. But Steinmeier papered over differences, saying the Berlin meeting will focus on making sure that international unity over the need for Iran to heed Security Council demands" will continue to be expressed in the future." He said that he wanted ElBaradei's assessment of the talks in Tehran "so that we have a substantial discussion" at the Berlin meeting.