Friday, May 19, 2006

Economic sanctions against Iran possible: German FM

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday that economic sanctions against Iran are possible if it sticks to its nuclear program, local media reported on Friday.

"We cannot rule out that we will have to react with economic measures in the long run," said Steinmeier in an interview with German radio later Thursday. READ MORE

Earlier this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected an EU offer of "the most sophisticated civilian nuclear technology" in exchange for Iran's halt on uranium enrichment and other processing activities.

Steinmeier said Iran remained uncooperative and failed to dispel western fears that it planed to build nuclear weapons, which Tehran denied.

Steinmeier called on Arab states to distance themselves from Iran's nuclear policy if they wanted to avert an arms race in the region.

In a final diplomatic effort, officials from Germany, France and Britain are set to meet next week to hammer out a new package of incentives, including cooperation with Iran in civilian nuclear technology.

A military strike against Iran was not on the cards at present, said the foreign minister.