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      Sarkozy: Time Running Out on Iran Sanctions

      French President Nicolas Sarkozy: We'll do anything to avoid military intervention in Iran, but more sanctions are required.
      By Elad Benari, Canada
      First Publish: 1/20/2012, 10:41 PM

      French President Nicolas Sarkozy
      French President Nicolas Sarkozy
      Flash 90

      French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned on Friday that any foreign military intervention against Iran’s nuclear program would trigger “war and chaos” across the Middle East and beyond, and said that harsher sanctions must be placed on the Islamic Republic.

      “Time is limited. France will do everything to avoid military intervention, but there is only one way to avoid it: a much tougher, more decisive, sanctions regime,” Sarkozy was quoted by AFP as having told an audience of diplomats in Paris.

      The French President called on all countries to freeze Iranian central bank assets and halt imports of Iranian oil.

      “Those who do not want to reinforce sanctions against a regime which is leading its country into disaster by seeking a nuclear weapon will bear responsibility for the risk of a military breakdown,” he warned.

      Sarkozy directly addressed China and Russia, which have rejected harsh sanctions against Iran and said, “And I say to our Chinese and Russian friends: Help us guarantee peace in the world ... we clearly need you.”

      He warned that “a military intervention would not solve the problem but would unleash war and chaos in the Middle East and perhaps, alas, the world.”

      France has been one of the loudest Western voices pushing for economic sanctions to force Iran to abandon its nuclear program. It has also expressed opposition to calls for air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.

      This week, Iran scoffed sanctions by Western countries, saying there is a high demand for Iran’s crude oil supplies and Tehran has no problem maintaining exports.

      Iranian Ambassador to South Korea, Ahmad Masoumifar, shrugged off Iran’s shrinking pools of customers, saying “we (Iran) are producing about 80 million barrels [of oil] and there is demand for about 90 million.”

      The European Union is set to meet on Monday to consider joining the effort to strengthen the embargo against Iran in hopes of convincing its government to scale back, if not entirely halt its nuclear development programs.

      Intelligence reports have indicated that Iran is working on creating an atomic weapon of mass destruction -- considered a threat to the entire international community. 

      (Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)