Germany views Iran as a potential threat not just to Israel, but also to European countries, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday at a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But she stopped short of endorsing her host's demand that Tehran give up all sensitive nuclear projects under any negotiated deal with world powers, and reiterated Berlin's opposition to Israeli settlements on occupied land where the Palestinians seek statehood.
Germany is Israel's most important ally in Europe, where the Netanyahu government frets it is losing support given troubled peace talks with the Palestinians. That makes Merkel's views a bellwether of European sentiment on Middle East issues.
The German chancellor visited Jerusalem with her cabinet to mark almost 50 years of bilateral ties with Israel, which was founded in part as a haven for survivors of the Holocaust.
"We see the threat not just as a threat for the state of Israel but as a general threat for Europe as well," she said of a potential Iranian bomb, adding that Germany would pursue international talks with Tehran on its nuclear activities.
The diplomacy was kick-started with an interim deal in November, which Netanyahu blasted as an "historic mistake" for easing sanctions on Iran while leaving its infrastructure for enriching uranium and potentially producing plutonium.
Iran says its nuclear projects are for peaceful needs.
Netanyahu, whose country is widely believed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, acknowledged that world powers had "talked about the possibility of some enrichment" continuing in Iran as part of a final deal.