Israel's Foreign Minister called Wednesday for a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to consider Iran's nuclear program, arguing that Tehran "will never give up its intention of possessing the nuclear bomb."
Silvan Shalom argued after meeting with his German counterpart, Joschka Fischer, that the Security Council must tackle the subject "before the threat becomes reality."
Germany, along with France and Britain, has been leading diplomatic efforts to allay concerns over Tehran's nuclear program. Iran insists the program is aimed solely at producing a new energy source, and denies U.S. allegations that it plans to enrich uranium as part of a covert nuclear weapons program.
The three European powers have insisted that Iran maintain a freeze on all activities related to uranium enrichment. That clashes with Iran's recent announcements that it would in the near future resume conversion of raw uranium into a gas used for enrichment, a process that can yield energy or the material for nuclear warheads.
Tehran backed away after the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain subsequently warned Tehran of "negative" consequences if it breaks its pledge to freeze such activities during negotiations with the Europeans - diplomatic shorthand for possible U.N. Security Council action.
"The earlier the subject is brought before the Security Council, the better," Shalom argued. "Iran will never give up its intention of possessing the nuclear bomb. We believe that they are at the moment just about to develop the bomb."
Shalom stressed that the situation should be resolved by diplomatic means, and praised the European effort.
Later Wednesday Shalom, whose visit precedes a trip to Germany later this month by President Moshe Katsav, met in Berlin with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
The chancellor's office said he praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from Gaza.
On the photo: Silvan Shalom