'Europe will work together to implement Iran sanctions'
News that Iran could build bomb 'within a year' prompts France to call for tougher EU response.
France on Tuesday called on the European Union to ramp up pressure on Iran following reports that the country would have enough weapons-grade uranium for a 'truck-sized' bomb within a year, Army Radio reported.
The French Minister for Europe, Pierre Lellouche, reportedly told EU colleagues in Brussels that Europe must prepare to impose tougher sanctions.
"Talks with Iran have continued for six years now and all of the West's proposals have been rejected," the AFP news service quoted him as saying. "We hope Europe will work together to implement sanctions."
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, also voiced support for a tougher line on Iran.
"Time is running out for Tehran," she said, warning that new sanctions would be a "tragedy for the Iranian people."
Stiffened European resolve to confront Iran follows reports on Monday in the German magazine Der Spiegel that Iran would be able to build a primitive nuclear bomb in 2010.
An intelligence dossier obtained by Der Spiegel shows that there is a secret military branch of Iran's nuclear research program that answers to Tehran's ministry of defense, according to the report.
Officials who have read this document - now under review by the U.S., Germany and Israel - claim that it shows that Iran has a well-advanced nuclear weapons program.
Iran denies it is developing a bomb and claims its nuclear research is entirely for civilian purposes.
The officials told Der Spiegel that Iran would have to compress the 'truck-sized bomb' it is capable of producing to fit into a nuclear warhead if it is to gain the strategic threat potential it desires.
Israel and the West believe Iran could have a warhead-sized bomb by 2012, Der Spiegel reported.
Iran has often warned it would retaliate for any attack on its nuclear facilities, which the West suspects form part of a drive to develop bombs. Tehran denies the charge.
Neither Israel nor the United States have ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the long running row over Iran's disputed nuclear ambitions.