Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised the latest round of tough sanctions against Iran on Tuesday, but he stressed that "all options should remain on the table" to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.
Barak said the sanctions, including a European import ban on Iranian oil, are an encouraging sign that the international community is now serious about stopping Tehran's leaders who have "shown a clear determination to defy and deceive the world and move closer to a military nuclear capability."
Germany's Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere, speaking alongside Barak after holding closed-door talks with his counterpart, said it appears "unambiguous" that Iran's nuclear program also has a military purpose.
Iran must be stopped from developing nuclear weapons, requiring "tough negotiations and tough sanctions," de Maiziere said.
But the minister urged all parties involved to "rhetorical, factual and also military restraint," adding that a "military escalation would carry unforeseeable risks, for Israel, for the region and for others."
Germany is part of the six nations group negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program.
Barak also met German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle later Tuesday.
Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and says it is not pursuing a bomb.
Barak told Israeli lawmakers Monday that Iran's nuclear program is on the verge of becoming immune to disruptions by a possible military strike. The remarks fueled already rampant speculation that Israel is preparing for a strike before Iran moves most of its nuclear facilities underground.
The U.S. and European governments oppose using military force against Iran at this point, preferring to rely on a steam of economic sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
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