German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday that world powers are close to approving a new round of sanctions against Iran over its suspected nuclear program.
Merkel said sanctions could come in the near future
German Chancellor Angela Merkel described as a "major diplomatic advance" the consensus among world powers on Iran sanctions, after talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Germany on Saturday.
"It is possible that in the near future the sanctions can be approved by the UN Security Council," she said at a joint news conference with Medvedev.
"I am very happy that we can stand here together today and say this is a common position, including not only the European Union, the United States and Russia, but also China," she added.
The United States and Europe overcame reservations in China and Russia, which have strong trade ties to Iran, and forged agreement on a draft sanctions resolution last month.
Russia has so far been reluctant to agree to sanctions against Iran for its controversial nuclear program, but on Saturday, Medvedev said sanctions made sense, although "nobody wanted them."
The international community is worried over Iran's nuclear ambitions
"The situation is this: an agreement on sanctions exists. We hope that the voice of the international community is heard by the Iranian leadership," he said. "One cannot continue behaving irresponsibly. It is important to listen to what is said in the international arena."
The comments come after the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France - agreed on a draft new resolution that includes fresh sanctions against Iran.
Closer security ties
Germany and Russia also announced they are stepping up efforts to set up a security committee to improve cooperation on security issues between Russia and the European Union.
Merkel and Medvedev want contact between the EU and Russia to progress from ambassador level, as at present, to minister level in future.
Author: Nicole Goebel (dpa/AP/Reuters)
Editor: Andreas Illmer