AFP: The top US official for arms control, John Bolton, sharply criticized Germany for trading with Iran, which Washington suspects of covertly developing nuclear weapons, in remarks published this weekend.
"I can only speak from the American perspective. We do not trade with countries that seek to breach international nuclear agreements ..." AFP

BERLIN - The top US official for arms control, John Bolton, sharply criticized Germany for trading with Iran, which Washington suspects of covertly developing nuclear weapons, in remarks published this weekend.

"I can only speak from the American perspective. We do not trade with countries that seek to breach international nuclear agreements," Bolton, the US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, wrote in a German-language piece in Sunday's edition of the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

A German delegation travelled to Iran on Thursday to discuss bilateral trade between the countries. Germany provided the bulk of direct foreign investment in Iran in 2003, worth 270 millions dollars (218 million euros), according to the head of the German-Iranian chamber of commerce in Tehran, Michael Tockuss.

Bolton also stressed that the United States was not considering military intervention in Iran, but said Washington had not ruled intervention out.

"We are not, for now, considering a military intervention. But we say that we have not ruled out any options from the start," the official said.

The United States accuses Iran of breaching the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by enriching uranium for military purposes and wants the UN's nuclear watchdog to bring Tehran before the UN Security Council in November, where sanctions could be imposed.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) demanded earlier this month that Iran halt all activities related to uranium enrichment.

Nuclear fuel cycle work including enrichment is permitted under the NPT for peaceful purposes, but the IAEA wants Iran to stop pending completion of a more than 18-month-long investigation.

Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons and insists it has a right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program.