Associated Press – December 6, 2007
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said a new U.S. intelligence report saying Iran stopped its nuclear weapons development in 2003 reinforces international concerns and should not diminish pressure for new sanctions.
Sarkozy's office said early Thursday that he had spoken Wednesday night with President Bush about the report, which reversed earlier American statements and said Iran had halted the nuclear program because of international pressure.
The report also contained warnings about Iran's continued nuclear activity, however, and said that it could have a nuclear bomb between 2010 and 2015.
Sarkozy said that if confirmed, the findings mean "international concerns since 2002 about the intentions of nuclear activities in Iran would be further reinforced," his office said.
"The demands of the international community therefore are pertinent: Iran should cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency and suspend its enrichment activities," the statement said.
"Iran's refusal to conform justifies a new U.N. resolution reinforcing sanctions," it said.
France under Sarkozy has taken a harder line on Iran, and has joined the U.S. push for a third U.N. Security Council resolution sanctioning Iran for its refusal to comply with demands it halt uranium enrichment, which can be used for a weapons program. Iran says the activity is aimed strictly at producing energy.
Sarkozy's statement comes as a boost to the Bush administration as it scrambles to hold together a global alliance of suspicion against Iran. The U.S. intelligence report, released Monday, was a surprising shift after years of insistence by Washington that Iran was building a nuclear bomb.
The Bush administration is worried that the new assessment drains the urgency from international efforts to roll back Iran's nuclear program.
Last updated 07/12/2007