Kouchner slams press after Iran comments

19th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

19 Setember 2007, MOSCOW (AFP) - France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner lashed out at the press on Tuesday, in the aftermath of an uproar sparked by his recent comments regarding a possible war with Iran.

19 Setember 2007

MOSCOW (AFP) - France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner lashed out at the press on Tuesday, in the aftermath of an uproar sparked by his recent comments regarding a possible war with Iran.

Kouchner caused a sensation when he said in a television interview on Sunday that the world must "prepare for the worst" and characterised the worst as "war" over Iran's contested nuclear programme.

"They (the media) are saying: Bernard Kouchner wants war, but it's not true," Kouchner told Russia's Echo of Moscow radio late Tuesday.  

"It's a manipulation. I don't want war, I want peace," he said three days after making the comments.

"As usual with journalists, they take one sentence and you don't know what came after. Someone asked me: what does it mean when you say you are expecting the worst? I replied: the worst would be war. I didn't say: the best would be war."

"We must keep negotiating (with Iran), without fear of moving backwards," he added. "We're ready to work on sanctions with the countries who propose them, technical sanctions that do not target the Iranian people at all."

France has recently been leading a drive within the European Union for tougher sanctions on Iran that it has said could be adopted outside of the UN.

In Tuesday's interview Kouchner suggested financial sanctions concerning banking channels, recalling that similar sanctions levied against South Africa during the Apartheid era were "effective."

Russia, an ally of Iran, has left it to the International Atomic Energy Agency to deal with Iran and has said that it is too early for new sanctions.

Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov said that sanctions proposed in a second round of UN resolutions were enough, Kouchner said.

The UN Security Council has already passed two resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran and calling for a halt to sensitive uranium enrichment work, which Washington fears will turn Iran into a nuclear-armed power.

Iran vehemently denies allegations it is seeking an atomic weapon.

Kouchner was due to leave for Washington on Wednesday to discuss Iran in meetings with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

AFP

Subject: French news

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