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Merkel: International Community to Prevent Iranian Military Nuclear Program


German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the international community is determined to prevent the threat posed by an Iranian military nuclear program.

Ms. Merkel, whose country holds the rotating European Union presidency, called for greater transparency from Tehran on its disputed nuclear program, or risk falling deeper into international isolation.

Chancellor Merkel made her comments Saturday at an international security conference in Munich, in southwestern Germany.

At the same meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he did not understand why Iran still has not responded positively to proposals from International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei.

Mr. Putin recently said Moscow supports ElBaradei's proposal that calls for holding off on U.N. sanctions if Iran suspends its efforts to enrich uranium. Russia is helping Iran build a nuclear energy plant.

The U.N. nuclear agency, the IAEA, suspended nearly half of its 55 technical aid projects to Iran Friday in compliance with U.N. sanctions imposed in December on Tehran for refusing to halt its uranium enrichment activities.

The U.S. and other Western powers accuse Iran of trying to build an atomic weapon, but Iran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, is expected to attend the final two days of the meeting in Munich Saturday and Sunday after missing its opening Friday due to illness.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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