German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for prompt talks on a new round of economic sanctions against Tehran to increase pressure to halt its disputed nuclear program.
Merkel said Tuesday that the "time has come to discuss sanctions." She was speaking to reporters after meeting with visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Merkel said the issue could come up when France takes over the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council in February. She said Germany would seek consensus at the UN on the issue, including China and Russia, but would be ready to support new sanctions with "a group of like-minded states." She did not elaborate.
Peres echoed her call for tough action on Iran, calling its government "dangerous, dictatorial and opposed to peace."
The president praised the chancellor for "her extraordinary friendship" with Israel and "her steadfast stance on the Iranian issue."
German Magazine Der Spiegel reported Monday that Iran's scientists could produce a basic truck-sized nuclear bomb this year.
Tehran now needs to work on compressing such bomb so it can be fitted on a ballistic missile, the magazine said. According to estimates, Iran could reach that stage by sometime between 2012 and 2014.
Der Spiegel's report is based on secret intelligence information handed over to the International Atomic Energy Agency.