German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Iran on Sunday to recount the votes in its disputed presidential election, refrain from using force against protesters and permit free reporting of the situation.
"Germany stands on the side of the people in Iran who want to exercise their right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly," Merkel said in a brief statement.
She called on Iran's leaders to allow peaceful protests, refrain from using force against demonstrators, free detained opposition members, allow free media reporting, and conduct a recount of the votes in the election.
Merkel said human rights "must be fully respected."
Hours before the chancellor issued her statement, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki rebuked Germany, France and Britain for raising questions about reports of voting irregularities in hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election.
Merkel did not mention Mottaki's comments, and neither did Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in a separate statement.
Iran "stands at a crossroads," Steinmeier said. "Either it will be possible to defuse the situation that has arisen in a dialogue of all political forces; or the situation threatens to escalate further."
He appealed to the leadership in Tehran "to do everything to prevent a further escalation."