Merkel, Sarko Keep Heat on Iran

Partners insist sanctions are still possible despite new intelligence
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2007 7:53 AM CST
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel for informal talks at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007.(AP Photo/Michel Euler)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Angela Merkel joined Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday in reaffirming their hard line on Iran's nuclear program despite the new American intelligence assessment that weapons development was halted in 2003. "I don't see why we should renounce sanctions," said the French president at a joint press conference in Paris, with the German chancellor adding that there are still "gaps" in Iran's cooperation.

Both said the international community should keep the pressure on Tehran and continue to negotiate. The meeting came just a day after Merkel used unusually blunt language to knock Sarkozy's plans for a Mediterranean Union of European and African nations. Sarkozy's so-called "Club Med" would undermine the EU's primacy, Merkel said Wedneday. But in Paris the chancellor appeared to back off from her criticisms after Sarkozy reassured her that his vision did not rival the European project.