Merkel: Iran's time is up, it's time to discuss sanctions

After meeting Peres in Berlin, German chancellor says she hopes world powers will reach consensus in February.

Merkel Peres  (photo credit: GPO/Amos Ben-Gershom )
Merkel Peres
(photo credit: GPO/Amos Ben-Gershom )
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that time and patience were running out on Iran's nuclear program and that February would see new sanctions discussed following France's rise to the presidency of the United Nations' Security Council.
"Iran's time is up. It is now time to discuss widespread international sanctions. We have shown much patience and that patience is up," said Merkel in a joint press conference with President Shimon Peres in Berlin.
"The international community's efforts have not brought about change so far and it is now time to discuss tougher sanctions," said Merkel.
She said that she hoped the world powers could reach a consensus in February, which she described as a "decisive" month, once France takes over the presidency of the UN Security Council. Merkel stressed that the sanctions would target the Iranian leadership and not the people. "Iran is aware of the threat of sanctions and is troubled by the notion," said Merkel.
Peres said that the world had to act with determination, lay heavy sanctions on Iran and speak in a single and clear voice against the Ahmadinejad regime. He said that the Iranian leadership was a "cruel dictatorship" that trampled on human rights, killed its own people and sponsored terror organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah.
The president went on to say that he was glad to see the Palestinian people taking control of their destiny and beginning construction of their institutions.
He said that Israel fully supports the state-building efforts of theSalam Fayyad government and its success in bringing peace and order tothe West Bank. Peres said that Israel would be wiling to make goodwillgestures and called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas toreturn to the negotiating table.
Peres asked Merkel to conveythe request to Abbas when he visits Germany next week. He said thetwo-state solution was in the heart of the Israel consensus and thatthe Palestinians should work towards the same aim.
"Neither side has an alternative to the two-state solution," said Peres.
Merkelsaid that she was worried that the Palestinians would give up on thetwo-state solution, and expressed Germany's willingness to assist infuture negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. She said thatshe and Peres also discussed possible three-way projects which thePalestinians, the Israelis and the Germans could take part in.