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World

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Paris brandit la menace d’une guerre contre l’Iran

by Hassane Zerrouky

Paris Threatens Iran with War.

Translated Saturday 22 September 2007, by Gene Zbikowski

Iran. French foreign minister Kouchner confirms France’s realignment with the United States when he threatens Teheran to force Iran to abandon its nuclear program.

Appearing as a guest on the Grand Jury program sponsored by RTL radio, LCI television, and Le Figaro newspaper, the French minister for foreign affairs, Bernard Kouchner, said, with regard to the question of the Iranian nuclear program that it was necessary “to prepare for the worst... The worst is war.” Making his thinking clear, he added: “You prepare first of all by trying to perfect plans, which is the prerogative of the military general staff. And that’s not something that you put off until tomorrow. But you also prepare by saying: ‘We will not accept the building of this (Iranian – editor) bomb.’ Suspend uranium enrichment and you will be shown that we are serious in proposing more efficient sanctions.” And parallel to the decisions which the UN Security Council might take if Iran were to continue to turn a deaf ear, the top French diplomat made it clear that France and her allies have decided to “prepare possible sanctions beyond UN sanctions, and these would be European sanctions.”

In other words, Paris is ready to play a leading role in persuading other European countries to take a harder line on Iran, before joining an American military adventure against Teheran. Nevertheless, while Great Britain has adopted this line, and Germany has done so in a low-key way, such countries as Italy and Spain are said to be more reticent about wanting to act outside the framework of the UN. In addition, following the example of Washington, which has forbidden US companies to trade with Iran, Bernard Kouchner invited French companies “not to respond to offersto do business” coming from Teheran.

The Iranian reaction came quickly. “The new occupant of the Elysée Palace now wants to copy the White House,” wrote the Irna press agency, which had an easy time accusing the French leaders of being the “translators of the desires of the White House!” As for the Iranian head of state, Ahmedinejad, he is sticking more than ever to his positions, declaring that his country “will not back down,” and that the West will be unable to impose sanctions.

Coming after Nicolas Sarkozy’s August 27 speech at the ambassadors’ conference, Bernard Kouchner’s belligerent words confirm that Paris has aligned itself in both form and content with Washington. This reorientation of French diplomacy shows that the re-evaluation of France’s strategic positioning in the world is continuing, and that France is really and truly toeing the line, abandoning everything that made her stand out in relation to the United States in terms of her approach to international relations and to the prevention of conflicts. Paris intends to fall in line completely, without demanding any compensatory action by the US, not only on the question of the Iranian nuclear program or on Iraq, but also on the Palestinian question and on NATO.


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