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This Time France Will Be Part of the Coalition of the Killing
Sarkozy talks of bombing if Iran gets nuclear arms
By Charles Bremner in Paris, Times of London
President Sarkozy called Iran’s nuclear ambition the world’s most dangerous problem yesterday and raised the possibility that the country could be bombed if it persisted in building an atomic weapon.
The French leader used tough language towards Tehran in the first broad survey of his plans for extending Gallic influence in the world since the start of his hyperactive presidency in May. President Sarkozy also gave full backing to Bernard Kouchner, his Foreign Minister, who was forced to apologise yesterday for calling for the replacement of Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister.
The biggest challenge to the world was the avoidance of conflict between Islam and the West, President Sarkozy told the annual gathering of French ambassadors. Iran was the crossroads of the Middle East’s troubles and its nuclear aims “are without doubt the most serious crisis that weighs today on the international scene”, he said.
A nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and the world must continue to tighten sanctions while offering incentives to Tehran to halt weapons development, he said. “This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran,” he said. He did not say who would carry out such an attack, which has been suggested by policy experts in Israel and the US.