'There will be sanctions' on Iran, says French FM

6th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 6, 2006 (AFP) - The powers making up the UN Security Council are agreed that "there will be sanctions" against Iran, though their extent is yet to be decided, France said Wednesday, after a Paris meeting on Tehran's nuclear programme.

PARIS, Dec 6, 2006 (AFP) - The powers making up the UN Security Council are agreed that "there will be sanctions" against Iran, though their extent is yet to be decided, France said Wednesday, after a Paris meeting on Tehran's nuclear programme.

"There is a question as to the extent of the sanctions, but there will be sanctions," Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told RTL radio.

He said the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany "agree on one thing: that there will be a United Nations Security Council resolution backed by all, including China and Russia.

Political directors from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States met in the French capital late Wednesday to talk about what action to take against Iran, which defied a UN deadline of August 31 to cease enriching uranium.

Several of the countries, especially the United States, fear that despite Iran's insistence that it is pursuing civilian nuclear energy ambitions, the programme is in fact designed to build a nuclear arsenal.

Diplomats said the Paris meeting failed to reach agreement among the six countries on what sanctions should be applied.

Russia and China -- which have strong economic interests in Iran -- have tried to water down a draft UN Security Council resolution drawn up by France, Britain and Germany, while the United States has sought to harden it.

The European draft would bar trade with Iran in goods related to its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and impose financial and travel restrictions on persons and agencies involved.

According to diplomats in Paris, Russia -- though willing to back the trade ban -- is still opposed to sanctions being applied to individuals, though it will accept a ban on shipments of sensitive goods.

Tehran has warned it would regard any attempt to thwart its nuclear programme as an "act of hostility".

Douste-Blazy, at a joint media conference with his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni, said France was "in a hurry" to see sanctions imposed.

"I think this is about the credibility of the United Nations Security Council," he said.

"To my mind, we are going to find a joint solution to be united behind a resolution," he said, adding that he would soon be speaking by telephone with the foreign ministers of the five other countries involved.

Livni, whose country is especially alarmed over Iran's nuclear ambitions and its expressed wish to see Israel one day wiped off the map, said decisions had to be made quickly, "because the Iranians are trying to stall" to win time to master the nuclear processes underway.

President Jacques Chirac, who also received Livni, reinforced Douste-Blazy's message by insisting on the "importance of solidarity in the international community on this issue concerning Iran," his spokesman said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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