France threatens 'unprecedented' sanctions against Iran

9th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

France called Wednesday for unprecedented sanctions if Iran continues to defy the world over its atomic programme after the UN nuclear watchdog said Tehran had worked on nuclear weapons technology.

"If Iran refuses to abide by the demands of the international community and rejects all serious cooperation, we are prepared to adopt, with those countries that follow, unprecedented sanctions," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"The unprecedented report that the International Atomic Energy Agency has just published strengthens France's profound concern about Iran's nuclear programme," it said.

The ministry said that activities noted in the IAEA's report "are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and the IAEA's governing council. They have no credible civil purpose."

The report's elements on "militarisation activities, along with the accumulation of enriched uranium and the intensive pursuit of ballistic tests paint a picture that leaves little doubt about Iran's intentions."

"All of this means that Iran has sought, and apparently continues to seek, the nuclear bomb under the cover of an alleged civilian and peaceful programme."

The IAEA's report on Tuesday said it had "serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme."

"This information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device," it said.

The Vienna-based agency said some of its more than 1,000 pages of information indicated Iran has done work "on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components."

Previous IAEA assessments have centred on Iran's efforts to produce fissile material -- uranium and plutonium -- which can be put to peaceful uses like power generation, or be used to make a nuclear bomb.

But the update focuses on Iran's alleged efforts towards putting the radioactive material in a warhead and developing missiles. Iran denies it is trying to make a nuclear bomb.

Russia and China have expressed reservations about the publication of the IAEA report and may block a fifth round of United Nations sanctions in the Security Council.

© 2011 AFP

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