DM Ehud Barak (archive)
DM Ehud Barak (archive) Israel news photo: Flash 90

Defense Minister Ehud Barak made a special point Thursday of praising Germany's stance on Iran as he headed into talks in Tel Aviv with German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle.

Barak prefaced his comments with a referral to the “special relationship” between the two countries. “It is influenced by memories of the past, by looking ahead to the future, by shared values and by the acknowledgment of Germany's important and unique role in the strengthening of Israel's security,” the defense minister said.

“We greatly value the German position regarding Iran, and the close cooperation we have on this matter,” Barak said, adding that Germany had in recent weeks intensified the EU's sanctions on the Iranian regime.

“We are certain that we will continue in this vein, increasing and expanding the sanctions in order to reach the common goal of stopping the Iranian nuclear program,” Barak said.

He reiterated that although “it should be obvious to everyone that no option should be removed from the table,” diplomacy and sanctions were still the first choices to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear development activities.

“Diplomacy must be conducted intensively and urgently,” Barak noted. “The sanctions on Iran must include – not only the oil sector – but also the financial system, and the central bank.”

Barak was expected to address the 2012 Herzliya Conference later in the day.