The French President has warned of catastrophic consequences, unless the world puts diplomatic pressure on Iran to curtail its nuclear programme. Iran has always maintained that it is developing atomic facilities to produce energy, but it yet has to convince some of the world’s most powerful countries that it is not pursuing nuclear weapons.
In his first major foreign policy speech Nicolas Sarkozy said: “Iran with a nuclear weapon is not acceptable to me. I want to underline France’s total determination on the current plan linked to increasing sanctions, but also being open to talks if Iran chooses to respect its obligations. This initiative is the only one that can allow us to escape an alternative that I can only call catastrophic: an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran.”
He also used the speech to defend his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who was forced to apologise after comments made about the Iraqi Prime Minister. After a visit to Baghdad last week, Kouchner called for Nouri al-Maliki to resign, because, he claimed, his government is not working.
Kouchner subsequently said sorry for interfering in Iraqi affairs in such a public way. It was France’s first governmental visit to Iraq since opposing the US-led invasion of 2003.