The German government will not support a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has told Haaretz newspaper. Speaking during a visit to Israel, Westerwelle added that such a strike would break the international coalition against Iran's nuclear ambitions. Westerwelle was confirming what German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Benjamin Netanyahu two weeks ago.
Germany, said the Foreign Minister, supports strict economic sanctions and has emphasised the importance of diplomatic measures regarding this issue. Such measures are also supported by the US: "Negotiations are by far the best approach to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons," American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio on Sunday.
In his meeting with Westerwelle, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu repeated his demand that there should be a "red line" regarding the level of uranium enrichment in Iran's nuclear facilities. It must not exceed 20 per cent, he insisted. Any increase over this level would be a sign that Iran is heading to build the nuclear bomb. Iran, claimed Netanyahu, needs six month to have enriched uranium at the 90 per cent level, which is needed to build a nuclear bomb, after a decision to do so was made by the Iranian revolution's Supreme Leader.
Clinton, meanwhile, said that there is no need for "red lines" as there is enough time to test the effect of economic sanctions and continue diplomatic measures. "We are convinced that we have more time to focus on these sanctions, to do everything we can to bring Iran to a good-faith negotiation," she said on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific forum in Vladivostok, Russia.
Haaretz reported that Westerwelle also met Defence Minister Ehud Barak and discussed their countries' military cooperation, mainly weapons bought by Israel from Germany. The most worrying issue in this regard, the newspaper said, is the agreement for Germany to sell two Dolphin Class submarines to Egypt.
"Germany is considering Israel's security interests in the submarine deal with Egypt," the German Foreign Minister is reported to have said.
Barack downplayed the dispute between Israel and Germany on this issue, saying that security cooperation between the two countries is "excellent" and this is clear in the deal to supply a sixth Dolphin Class submarine to Israel.