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France Won't Rule Out Military Strike on Iran

France may consider a pre-emptive military strike on Iran to stop its march towards obtaining a nuclear weapon of mass destruction.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 9/28/2011, 11:30 AM

Nuclear scientists dealing with waste
Nuclear scientists dealing with waste
Greenpeace.org

France warned late Tuesday it may consider a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to stop the Islamic Republic from creating a nuclear weapon of mass destruction.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said in a panel discussion in New York, “If we don't succeed today to reach a negotiation with the Iranians, there is a strong risk of military action.” He did not specify who would carry out the strike.

“It would be a very complicated operation,” Araud went on,” according to a report by the AFP news agency. “It would have disastrous consequences in the region,” he warned. “All the Arab countries are extremely worried about what is happening,” in the Iranian nuclear development program, Araud said.

He added that it has become increasingly clear that the Islamic Republic has no intention of negotiating a resolution to the impasse over its uranium enrichment program.

Iran has insisted that its nuclear development technology is geared to peaceful domestic use only. However, it has severely restricted the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency from access to its facilities.

European negotiators have concluded that Iran does not wish to negotiate with the international community, said Araud, and is “moving forward” with its nuclear development program despite. Several rounds of sanctions against the Islamic Republic by the U.N. Security Council, aimed at persuading its government to end its uranium enrichment program, have failed to budge Iran from continuing its production.

“We have tried everything. Not a stone has been left unturned,” Araud said.

Ahmadinejad has claimed the country needs 20 percent enriched uranium for a medical reactor to produce isotopes for cancer treatment. However, Western intelligence agents have said the country already has enough uranium for that purpose, and that any additional uranium would be used to produce weapons, according to AFP.

The Iranian president claimed in an interview last week with the New York Times that Iran would halt production of low-enriched uranium if the international community were willing instead to provide it to Tehran. However, Iran recently moved its uranium enrichment facilities to underground bunkers, setting off alarm bells in both Europe and the United States.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert  before him, each have repeatedly warned the international community of the dangers posed by allowing Iran to continue its nuclear development programs unchecked. Each round of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, however, took months to pass, due to opposition from Russia and China, both of whom are permanent members of the Council.