France’s president has set out a tougher version of his country’s nuclear policy. Jacques Chirac’s comments at a naval base have been interpreted as a veiled warning to Iran, as France takes a harder line on the Islamic Republic amid growing suspicions that the latter is trying to acquire atomic weapons.
“The leaders of states who are prepared to carry out strikes against us using weapons of mass destruction should know this: we will retaliate swiftly, and our response might be conventional, or it might be of a different nature,” the president said at the Landivisiau base at Brest in the west of the country. France is thought to have around 300 warheads. Its nuclear capacity relies on specially equipped submarines and mirage fighter jets.