Merkel, Sarkozy urge continued int'l pressure on Iran

Merkel praises Russia and China's cooperation in talks with Teheran; Sarkozy: "The threat exists."

Merkel Sarkozy clowns 22 (photo credit: AP)
Merkel Sarkozy clowns 22
(photo credit: AP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday that Iran was still a "danger" and urged continued international pressure on Teheran over its nuclear program. Merkel did not specifically express support for a new UN sanctions resolution against Iran, but said: "We and our partners would like to continue with the UN process." Sarkozy has continued to support the US-led push for sanctions even after a US intelligence report this week indicated that Iran stopped nuclear weapons development in 2003. "I think we are in a process and that Iran continues to pose a danger," Merkel said at a joint news conference with Sarkozy in Paris in response to a question about the report. Sarkozy concurred. "The threat exists," he said. Their statements came as a boost to the US administration. The intelligence report reversed earlier American statements about Iran's nuclear threat, and raised worries that the international push for a third round of UN sanctions against Iran would lose steam. The US report also contained warnings about Iran's continued nuclear activity and said that it could still have a nuclear bomb by 2010-2015. Merkel stressed the need to continue a two-pronged approach toward Iran, continuing discussions with Teheran while at the same time expecting its cooperation with the UN Security Council. "I think we and our partners need to continue to seek dialogue with Iran," she said. Merkel praised Russia and China's cooperation in talks with Iran, saying that both dialogue and pressure from the UN Security Council were needed in the future. "Those are the two main pillars of how we plan to proceed and we are in agreement on this," Merkel said. The United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China are in discussions about a third UN Security Council resolution sanctioning Iran for its refusal to comply with demands it halt uranium enrichment. Iran insists the activity is aimed at producing energy, but it can also be used for a weapons program.