Isfahan nuclear facility - AP - 2005
An aerial photograph showing Iran's uranium enrichment facility just outside the city of Isfahan. Photo by AP
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German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Sunday in an interview to a German newspaper that the chances that an Israeli attack on Iran will succeed are not high.

Speaking to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the German defense minister said that an Israel Defense Forces strike on Iran's nuclear facilities is "highly unlikely" to succeed, and noted that such a strike would cause "obvious political damage."

The German minister commented on a recent report in the Washington Post that said that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes there is a "strong likelihood" that Israel will attack Iran this spring.

"I spoke to Leon Panetta personally and he did not say Israel will attack Iran this spring. A journalist said that," he said.

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He stressed that Germany and Europe have decided on a strategy of tough sanctions against Iran that would take effect in July, that they believe could affect Iran.

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama has said that Israel has not yet decided how to respond to concerns about Iran's nuclear program, but said that it is rightly concerned about its nuclear program.

Tehran says its nuclear program is meant to produce energy, not weapons, but has not responded to the latest Western overtures for talks and has threatened to retaliate against U.S. and European sanctions affecting its finances and oil sales.

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