Merkel Warns Iran Could Face Sanctions
The German chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin, said Iran could face new sanctions if it does not show a willingness to negotiate on its nuclear programme. She also called on Israel to freeze its settlement construction for the sake of progress in peace talks. In London on Wednesday, Mr Netanyahu suggested Israel was close to an agreement on settlements.
US President Barack Obama has warned that harsher penalties could be imposed on Iran if it does not take up an offer of talks on trade benefits in exchange for shelving its nuclear programme. “If there is no positive answer by September we will have to consider further measures,” said Mrs Merkel. Speaking at a press conference after their talks, Mr Netanyahu called for “crippling sanctions” against Iran to stop its disputed nuclear programme.
“It is possible to put real pressure, real economic pressure, on this regime if the major powers of the world unite,” he said. On the settlement issue, Mrs Merkel said a freeze in construction would push forward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. “Progress on the issue of settlements – a freeze on settlements – is an important building block and a prerequisite for a restart of the Middle East peace process,” said Mrs Merkel.
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