France warns of war with Iran

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

File:Bernard Kouchner.gif
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner warned on Sunday of the possibility of a war over Iran's nuclear program.

"We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war," Mr. Kouchner stressed in an interview broadcast by French radio and TV. He also highlighted the importance of negotiations with Iran, stating these should continue "right to the end," though he underlined that if Iran possessed real nuclear weapons, this would pose "a real danger for the whole world".

Tehran has denied all charges from developing nuclear weapons; nevertheless, Iran has announced its intentions to acquire uranium for energy rather than weapons.

Mr. Kouchner also stated that "we are trying to put in place plans which are the privilege of chiefs of staff and that is not for tomorrow," and, that even though any attack was far from taking place, "It is normal for us to plan".

The French Minister also added that France intended to impose new sanctions over Iran, but not under the framework of the UN Security Council, and thus force Tehran to give up any attempt to acquire nuclear weapons.

Kouchener is quoted in the EU Observer saying, "We have decided, while negotiations are continuing (…), to prepare eventual sanctions outside the ambit of UN sanctions, which would be European sanctions. Our good friends, the Germans, suggested that."

One sanction: asking France's largest companies not to do business with Iran. The Financial Times quotes Kouchener saying, "We have asked a certain number of our big companies not to respond to Iranian tenders."

The United Nations Security Council has imposed severe sanctions over Iran, but until now has not accepted military action. The United States has also not ruled out the option of military actions towards Iran, if the nuclear program continues.