France says force not option for Iran

Nov. 10, 2009 at 10:03 AM
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PARIS, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The French foreign minister Tuesday dismissed a military option to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis, saying resorting to force would be catastrophic.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on French radio a military option "would be a catastrophe" and efforts by Western countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear aspirations are to "avoid the military option," the Kuwait News Agency KUNA reported.

An Iranian official recently said a proposal for Iran to send semi-enriched uranium out of the country to be processed into nuclear fuel rods has been called off. Under the proposed deal struck by the IAEA and approved by Western nations, Iran would ship its low-enriched uranium abroad, where it would be further enriched and sent back for use in medical treatments.

"The Middle East is already a powder keg, without adding an additional conflict," Kouchner said.

Because Tehran so far has rebuffed international requests to halt its suspected program to produce nuclear weapons, Kouchner said the international community should ask the U.N. Security Council in December for further sanctions against Iran.

The French official stressed Western powers were "not forbidding anything" to Iran and wanted to facilitate its access to civil nuclear power, KUNA reported.

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