German minister pledges to back efforts to block Iranian nukes

Berlin defense chief discusses joint struggle against Teheran with Peretz.

German Defense Minister Franz-Joseph Jung pledged to support Israel and the international effort to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons during a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Amir Peretz in Tel Aviv Friday. The two men spoke of their shared struggle against Teheran the morning after state news agencies in Iran reported that their country had tested a long-range missile, the Shihab-3, which has the ability to reach Israel and could have the capacity to carry a nuclear warhead. State news agencies in Iran also reported Friday that Teheran test-fired three new anti-ship missiles in the Gulf, indicating that the maneuvers should send a clear message to the US not to conduct any more military exercises in the area, like the US-led one conducted there last week. Peretz told Jung, "The international community must act using all means available against Iran." An official in the Defense Ministry later clarified that Peretz was referring to diplomatic initiatives. According to a Defense official, the meeting between the two defense ministers focused on Iran and not the two incidents last month in which IAF aircraft allegedly fired warning shots at a German Navy vessel. Jung came accompanied by his deputy chief of staff and six members of the German parliament, including opposition members who oppose Germany's participation in the international naval force patrolling Lebanon's coast in an attempt to keep Hizbullah from rearming. The German delegation also visited Lebanon on Friday, where Jung said he believed there would not be any more instances in which Israel fires at German forces. While Israel has not confirmed its aircraft fired at the German vessel, officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, have apologized to Germany. AP contributed to this report.