WikiLeaks: French adviser branded Iran 'fascist state'
President Nicolas Sarkozy's top diplomatic adviser branded Iran a "fascist state" in a meeting with senior US officials last year, according to documents leaked on Sunday by website WikiLeaks.
Jean-David Levitte made the comment in talks on September 16, 2009 with US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon, according to a copy of a US memo published on the website of the British daily The Guardian.
Levitte warned that Iran's response to US President Barack Obama's bid to engage it on dialogue over the future of its alleged nuclear weapons programme was a "farce" and regretted that Moscow had taken it seriously.
"The current Iranian regime is effectively a fascist state and the time has come to decide on next steps," Levitte warned, according to the memo, as he called for Obama to talk with Sarkozy about a tougher sanctions regime.
"The Iranian regime must understand that it will be more threatened by economic harm and the attendant social unrest than it would be by negotiating with the West," he argued, according to the memo.
Sarkozy has been one of the more hawkish Western leaders on Iran, often pushing Washington and the international community to take tougher steps, despite China's reluctance to risk damage to its oil supplies from Tehran.
Levitte also expressed concern that Israel might take unilateral military action to hit Iranian nuclear facilities.
"Levitte said that he informed the Chinese foreign minister that if they delay until a possible Israeli raid, then the world will have to deal with a catastrophic energy crisis as well," the memo said.
Washington and other Western capitals have condemned Sunday's mass leak of US diplomatic cables, but have not denied they are genuine.
© 2010 AFP