Germany Official: Meeting With Israel's Barak Left Me 'More Concerned' of War With Iran

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Germany's defense minister Thomas de Maiziere said that a recent meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak left him "more concerned" as to the possibility of war with Iran, an interview published on Tuesday indicated.

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Ehud Barak with German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere in Berlin, March 20, 2012.Credit: AP

De Maiziere's comments came after U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday there was still time to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff through diplomacy, indicating, however, that the window for such a solution was closing.

Obama reiterated his position on the Iran nuclear issue after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on the eve of a nuclear security summit in Seoul.

"I believe there is a window of time to solve this diplomatically, but that window is closing," Obama told reporters.

Obama has pressed Israel to hold off on any attack on Iran's nuclear sites to give sanctions and diplomacy time to work, but has said military action remains an option if all else fails.

In an interview with German newspaper Bild published on Tuesday, de Maiziere was asked whether his meeting with Barak gave him any indication as to the possibility of war with Iran, to which de Maiziere said: "I don't know, but from my talks, including with Israel's defense minister, I have become more concerned that secure."

"We're doing everything we can to discourage Iran from its nuclear program. First and foremost using sanctions. But the Israeli side doesn't believe the sanctions are successful," the German defense minister said.

Later on, de Maiziere was asked on the possibility of an Israeli attack in Iran, saying: "Iran is trying to hide a considerable part of its nuclear program deep in the ground. If that succeeds, it would hinder an Israeli attack."

"But some Israeli cabinet members don't estimate enough the negative consequences of such attacks. I told Ehud Barak that it was hard to calculate the consequences, and one mustn't take uncalculated risks," de Maiziere said, adding that, "as a result," as Israel's friends, we warned it against such a move."

Read this article in Hebrew.