Bloomberg: Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany was prepared to press for further sanctions against Iran unless the Islamic Republic abandoned its nuclear program. By Rainer Buergin
Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) — Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany was prepared to press for further sanctions against Iran unless the Islamic Republic abandoned its nuclear program.
“Germany wants diplomatic solutions” in the dispute with Iran, “but for that it’s necessary that we’re ready to demand further sanctions if the behavior doesn’t change,” Merkel told reporters in New York today, where she is due to address the United Nations General Assembly. “Israel’s security isn’t negotiable,” she added.
Merkel said she’ll tell the assembly later today that Iran’s “possession of a nuclear bomb would have devastating consequences for Israel’s existence, for the entire region and for us all in Europe and around the world.”
Merkel’s comments underscore Germany’s hardening stance toward Iran. Senior members of both main parties in Merkel’s coalition government said last week that unilateral sanctions by the European Union beyond those already agreed on by the UN may be necessary. “It now seems legitimate to consider raising the stakes,” Ruprecht Polenz, head of the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said in an interview on Sept. 21.
The U.S. is trying to rally support at the UN Security Council for a third round of sanctions against Iran over its uranium enrichment program, though permanent council members China and Russia say they want to give more time to talks. The U.S. says Iran’s program is a cover for the development of an atomic bomb. Iran denies the charge, saying it is intended for electricity generation.
`Convince the World’
“The international community mustn’t allow itself to be divided,” Merkel said. “It’s not the world that has to prove that Iran is building the bomb. Iran has to convince the world that it’s not striving for the bomb.”
Merkel also reiterated Germany’s position that the Security Council — whose permanent members are the U.S., Russia, China, France and the U.K. — must be “reformed” as part of a complete overhaul of the United Nations.
She said she’ll tell the assembly that Germany is ready to “accept more responsibility and therefore strives for a seat on the Security Council.”