Schroeder rejects use of force in Iran dispute

9th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 August 2005, BERLIN/HILDESHEIM - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Tuesday implicitly ruled out any use of force over Iran's nuclear programme and called on Tehran to reconsider its decision to resume uranium processing.

9 August 2005

BERLIN/HILDESHEIM - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Tuesday implicitly ruled out any use of force over Iran's nuclear programme and called on Tehran to reconsider its decision to resume uranium processing.

"I see no possibility other than reaching a resolution through negotiations," said Schroeder in remarks made during a visit to Munich.

The Chancellor said the top priority was that conflict over Iran's nuclear programme be resolved "peacefully".

Schroeder added that using any other method to deal with Iran's nuclear programme "was not being seriously considered by anyone".

Germany would coordinate action on Iran with the U.S., said Schroeder, who called on Iran to "urgently" reconsider its position.

Schroeder's "no" to military force comes as he struggles to win re-election in a September 18 general election amid polls showing his Social Democrats badly trail conservative challenger Angela Merkel.

In Germany's 2002 election Schroeder stormed from behind to win a narrow victory after making his opposition to the Iraq war a top election theme.

Meanwhile German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Monday evening sharply criticised Iran for its steps to re-start operations at the Isfahan nuclear power plant.

At an election campaign appearance in the northern German city of Hildesheim, Fischer said, "the situation is serious".

The moves by Teheran to start up some operations again at the Isfahan nuclear facility would "lead to a development which is anything but positive in the region and beyond", said Fischer, who is the leading standard-bearer of the environmentalist Greens party.

Iran on Monday ended a nine-month freeze on its nuclear programme and began processing uranium. Tehran says this is to create nuclear fuel but Germany and most other industrialised nations fear that Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons.

In Tehran, an Iranian official said his country wanted to continue talks with the three European Union (E.U.) heavyweights - Germany, Britain and France, dubbed the E.U. 3 - despite rejection of their earlier E.U. offer to provide Iran with nuclear fuel, economic and technical aid.

DPA

Subject: German news

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