France: Israeli strike on Iran could backfire

Attila Somfalvi – ynetnews September 3, 2012

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned on Monday that an Israeli strike on Iran‘s nuclear facilities would backfire, the DPA news agency reported.

“I’m absolutely hostile to Iran having nuclear weapons but I think that if there were an Israeli attack, unfortunately it could come back to haunt Israel by (allowing) Iran to cast itself as a victim,” Fabius, was quoted as saying. The minister made the remarks in an interview with France’s BFM TV.

“We’re saying we should increase sanctions and, at the same time, continue negotiating with Iran to make it give in,” he said.

The United Nations, US and European Union have imposed a series of sanctions on Iran over its uranium enrichment program.

According to the report, Fabius said the sanctions, which were expanded in July to include an EU oil embargo, were “starting to be effective”. He did not expand on what any forthcoming sanctions, saying only: “We are studying all formats.”

Clear red line

Fabius’ comments echoed remarks made recently by US officials, who appear to be making efforts to deter Israel from employing the military option.

Last week Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey reiterated his stance that the IDF cannot stop Iran’s atom aspirations, saying that “I don’t want to be complicit if they (Israel) choose to do it.”

Two weeks ago, the US general stressed that an Israeli attack could only delay the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

On Monday, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the US indirectly informed Iran, via two European nations, that it would not back an Israeli military operation against the country as long as Tehran refrains from attacking American interests in the Persian Gulf.

The White House adamantly denied the report.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with American and Israeli war veterans on Monday, said that the “cruel regime” in Iran is forging ahead with its nuclear program because it cannot see “a clear red line.” He urged the international community to show its determination against the Islamic Republic’s nuclearization in order to minimize the risk of conflict.

Earlier Monday, Iran’s air defense commander, Farzad Esmaili, said that his country has completed roughly 30% of a missile defense system that is meant as an alternative to the Russian S-300 system, which Moscow refused to sell Tehran. He said the system is slated to be completed by next year

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