Germany trying to convince Turkey, Iran to join fight against IS

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is trying to convince Turkey and Iran to join the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told a German newspaper. In an interview with Berlin's Tagesspiegel daily, Steinmeier said longstanding animosities in the Middle East needed to be set aside to ensure a united front against IS and he vowed to raise this with Saudi Arabia's leadership when he visits the country on Sunday. "We are trying to convince the Arab countries, Turkey and Iran that it is necessary to work together against IS," he told the newspaper. He added that Germany was urging Ankara to fight IS with "full force". Steinmeier's comments came as over 20,000 people, mainly Kurds, demonstrated against IS in the western German city of Duesseldorf. Similar marches in Hamburg and Celle over the past week have led to violent clashes between Kurds and radical Islamists but police said Saturday's demonstration was peaceful. On Friday, a United Nations envoy warned that thousands of Kurds in Kobani were likely to be massacred if the Syrian town near the border with Turkey fell to advancing IS fighters. The besieged town is in full view of Turkish tanks that have done nothing to intervene. Kobani's plight has unleashed the worst street violence in Turkey, home to 15 million Kurds, in years. Iran has blamed the West for the rise of IS, which controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq, but also suggested the need for common action in confronting extremists. Iran has been holding talks with six world powers on its disputed nuclear program, but the two sides failed to meet a self-imposed July target date for a long-term accord and now face a new deadline of Nov. 24. (Reporting by Noah Barkin; Editing by Stephen Powell)