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. US report justifies Iran strategy: German FM
BERLIN, Dec 4 (AFP) Dec 04, 2007
A US intelligence report that concluded Iran has halted its nuclear weapon drive confirms the international community's strategy of negotiations with and putting pressure on Tehran, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday.

The report confirms "the double approach chosen by the international community which foresees at the same time encouragement and the measures of the United Nations Security Council is good," he said in a statement released by his ministry.

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) "some interesting elements," he added.

Steinmeier was due to discuss the report late Monday with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the ministry statement added.

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the consensus view of all 16 US spy agencies, said it was unclear whether Iran sought nuclear arms and that halting its still-dormant programme suggested greater susceptibility to global pressure than had been thought.

It also cautioned that the Islamic republic was keeping its nuclear options open, still bucked international demands to freeze uranium enrichment, and that Tehran could have the technical ability to make a nuclear weapon sometime between 2010 and 2015.

Germany, along with Britain and France, led a diplomatic initiative with Tehran in 2004 and 2005 in which it discussed trade and other economic incentives for Iran to halt uranium enrichment, but the effort fell apart with the election of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iranian president.

The so-called EU-3 have since supported UN sanctions on Iran, while still holding open the possibility of talks and incentives for Tehran to halt uranium enrichment.

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