Merkel says pressure on Iran must be maintained despite US report
( dpa ) - Germany plans to continue exerting pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme, despite a report by US intelligence services that Tehran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons programme, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday.
Merkel said Germany would continue to pursue a "dual strategy" with Iran, based on making offers of cooperation while also insisting on complete cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"That remains in place," Merkel told journalists in a wide-ranging briefing in Berlin.
The US report, released in December, said Iran had halted its atomic weapons programme in 2003 and seemed less determined to develop nuclear arms than the administration of President George W Bush had believed.
Merkel noted that the report did not query the fact that Iran had pursued a uranium enrichment programme and said Germany still expected further cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog.
The report had, however, led to a slowing down in the process towards more stringent UN sanctions on Iran, she said.
"But there is no reason to sound the all-clear and to say that we regard as correct all the actions coming from Iran. Thus our dual strategy remains in place," the German chancellor said.
Germany has combined with the permanent Security Council members France and Britain to negotiate with Tehran on ending its enrichment programme.