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French Foreign Minister Warns Against Israeli Strike in Iran

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius: An Israeli strike in Iran will “turn against Israel”.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/4/2012, 5:44 AM

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
Reuters

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned Monday against an Israeli strike in Iran.

Fabius said that an Israeli Iran would “turn against Israel” and called for stronger sanctions to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

“I am absolutely opposed to the idea that Iran would gain nuclear weapons, but I think if there was an Israeli attack, unfortunately it would turn against Israel and [would put] Iran as the victim,” Fabius said, according to the Al Bawaba news website.

He added Paris fears that “if there is a strike against them, they would be victimized and recover legitimacy among the population there. We say that we must increase sanctions and at the same time continue to discuss with Iran.”

“Unfortunately, the Chinese, Russians and Indians do not comply with the sanctions, it's a hole, even if sanctions are beginning to be more effective,” he said.

“The Iranians are trying to develop centrifuges [to enrich uranium] in a way that has no reason if they do not have a military purpose, so the risk is real,” noted Fabius, adding that one can “not trust” the Iranians.

“This is a regime that is capable of lying to its own people,” he said.

The United States has also expressed its objection to an Israeli strike in Iran. Last week, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said such an attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran's nuclear program.”

He added, "I don't want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it."

On Monday, the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot reported that senior officials in the Obama Administration sent a message to Tehran in the past few days, according to which the U.S. does not intend to join Israel's side if it decides to attack the Iranian nuclear installations on its own.

According to the report, the U.S. sent the message to Iran in order to avoid an Iranian response military response that would target U.S. installations in the Gulf region.

The White House later officially denied having held secret talks with Iran over a possible attack by Israel.

“The report is false and completely incorrect,” said White House Spokesman Jay Carney. “And we don't talk about hypotheticals,” he added.

Meanwhile, the latest report by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran has increased its uranium enrichment capacity by at least 30% in the last four months, and has doubled production capacity at the Fordo nuclear site.