Bloomberg: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union and the U.S. must use diplomatic rather than military pressure on Iran, two days after it defied a United Nations deadline for the suspension of uranium enrichment. By John Fraher
Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union and the U.S. must use diplomatic rather than military pressure on Iran, two days after it defied a United Nations deadline for the suspension of uranium enrichment.
“There is no military option here,” said Merkel in the transcript of an interview with Germany’s ARD television e-mailed to news agencies. “We have to build up diplomatic pressure.”
Iran, which now faces sanctions, is betting the U.S. and its European Union allies won’t remain united on a strategy to pressure the Islamic Republic to give up nuclear research. The U.S. says the program is aimed at developing atomic weapons, though Iran says it is designed to produce electricity.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was today quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying his country will not give away “one bit” of its right to “benefit from nuclear energy.” United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan arrived in Tehran today for talks with Ahmadinejad.
“The international community will think about further steps,” Merkel said in the interview. Still, “the door for talks remains open.”
The five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany will meet Sept. 7 in Berlin to discuss Iran’s stance on uranium enrichment.
The EU’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana said yesterday he’s still trying to persuade Iran to comply with UN demands. The EU-led plan would provide Iran with World Trade Organization membership, nuclear technology and airplane parts in exchange for the suspension of uranium enrichment.
Speaking about Germany’s engagement in Lebanon, Merkel declined to speculate on how many troops her government will send to the country as she awaits a decision by Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora on his navy’s role.
Die Welt reported yesterday that Germany will send 2,000 soldiers to Lebanon as part of an international force to police the country’s border area with Israel. Germany has offered to lead the UN naval mission off the Lebanese coast.