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Germany's Steinmeier calls for Iran role in coalition against IS

September 19, 2014

Germany's top diplomat has called for Iran to be included in efforts to stem the "Islamic State" (IS). Frank-Walter Steinmeier said inclusion was the only way to combat the militants in Syria and Iraq.

Image: AP

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was in New York on Friday to attend a special ministerial meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the crisis in Iraq, at which he made calls for the inclusion of Iran in diplomatic efforts to stem the "Islamic State" (IS).

"Despite the difficulties that we have with Iran and its nuclear ambitions, I am of the opinion that all of the neighbors of Syria and Iraq should be included," Steinmeier said.

"I sincerely hope that Iran will be considered, for only then will we be able to get control of the threat posed by IS". Steinmeier also said that Germany supported Iraq's new government in its bid to "correct mistakes made in the past … and incorporate all regions and religions" in the development of the nascent state.

Aussenministertreffen Brüssel Steinmeier
Steinmeier said Iran was vital to any successful diplomacyImage: GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was chairing the special UNSC session, also said that Iran had "a role to play" in preventing the spread of IS throughout the region.

"The coalition required to eliminate [IS] is not only, or even primarily, military in nature," Kerry said. "It must be comprehensive and include close collaboration across multiple lines of effort. There is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran".

'Playing for time'

Steinmeier, meanwhile, was also in New York for a meeting on Iran's disputed nuclear program, where he warned Tehran that it could no longer "play for time" in negotiations with six world powers.

"We are entering the crucial phase of the E3+3 (six powers) negotiations with Iran," Steinmeier told reporters in New York, two months ahead of a deadline for a deal that would end economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbing its atomic program.

"We are willing to offer Iran a fair deal. However, for that to happen, Iran will need to move on the core issues."

Western diplomats have accused Iran of making unrealistic demands in its negotiations, which they say have blocked compromises that could allay fears about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

In turn, Iran has accused Western powers of demanding curbs on its nuclear program that are unreasonable and excessive, maintaining that its goal is atomic energy for civilian purposes, not nuclear armaments.

glb/ksb (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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