Merkel says Iran is testing the West's patience

Thu Dec 3, 2009 9:13am EST
 
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BERLIN (Reuters) - Iran is testing the international community's patience over its nuclear program and further sanctions must be considered if it does not cooperate with the West, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday.

After meeting Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Berlin, Merkel said that Brazil, the United States and European powers shared a desire for Iran to show transparency and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"We are pursuing two tracks: on the one hand making Iran offers for a good, common development," she told a joint news conference with Lula.

"But on the other hand, we are also saying if that is not the case -- and our patience is being sorely tested -- then new sanctions must be considered," she added.

Iran has resisted a deal with Western powers that would see its low-enriched uranium sent abroad for processing into uranium for making fuel.

The United States and its allies suspect that Iran is secretly using its nuclear energy program to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran says it is enriching uranium only to generate electricity.

(Reporting by Paul Carrel, editing by Tim Pearce)