Germany's foreign minister has called for a hard line on Iran as G8 leaders met in Canada. The question of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions was a key one on the opening day of talks among foreign ministers.
Westerwelle said sanctions should be considered
The dispute over Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions was a major theme as foreign ministers met in Gatineau, Quebec.
In the talks, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle emphasized that there was a need to take a firm stance that Iran should yield to western demands for more transparency.
Westerwelle said that all states had a right to nuclear technology used in the production of energy.
But he went on to say that, if Iran continued to keep the option of nuclear weapons open, the international reaction should "come down to an extension of sanctions."
Anti-nuclear proliferation efforts are at stake, Westerwelle said
Westerwelle warned that, should Iran succeed in gaining nuclear weapons, global efforts to limit proliferation in other states would be placed in jeopardy.
"If we don't take care then in ten years time we might have twice the number of atomic states."
Response to call for pressure
Westerwelle was responding to Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon's call for more pressure on Tehran.
The international community had been "left with little choice but to pursue additional sanctions against Iran, ideally through the United Nations Security Council," Cannon said before the meeting.
Representatives of Britain, France, Germany Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States were also present at the gathering of leading economic and political powers.
A resolution was passed to press the international community to take "appropriate and strong steps" to show resolve against Tehran.
However, representatives stressed that they were open to dialogue with the Iranian leadership, which denies accusations that it is attempting to build atomic weapons.