French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday warned against military intervention in Iran, fearing that it would not stop the Islamic Republic's nuclear weapons program, but instead bring more chaos to the region.
A military intervention would not solve the problem but would unleash war and chaos in the Middle East and perhaps, alas, the world, Sarkozy told diplomats in Paris.
France has been trying to get the European Union to impose tougher sanctions on Iran and has recommended freezing central bank assets and stopping imports of Iranian oil. During his speech Sarkozy pushed China and Russia -- which have been supportive of Iran in the past -- to back new U.N. measures.
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 said.
The U.N., the United States and the E.U. have been trying to use sanctions to stop Iran from developing its nuclear program. In November, a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency indicated that Iran had been working to build nuclear weapons in the past and could be continuing to do so. Iran has denied the charges and stated that its nuclear program is only for energy and medical purposes.
Iran has reached a number of nuclear development milestones in recent weeks, including the successful test of a fuel rod and enrichment of uranium at a level that takes you to a different (not peaceful) kind of nuclear program, according to U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
Military intervention is not an extreme scenario. Israeli leadership has already floated the idea of a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities and the assassination of a nuclear scientist in Tehran earlier this month has been blamed on the Zionist regime and the United States.
On Friday, Ali Larijani, the chairman of the Iranian parliament, said that Israel should be punished for killing the scientist. Israel and the United States have denied involvement, but Larijani, who is a former nuclear negotiator himself, wants vengeance.
Terrorism has a long history in some countries like the Zionist regime, said Larijani, according to Reuters. The Zionist regime should be punished in a way that it cannot play such games with our country again.
He also countered an earlier promise made by Iranian officials and said that Iran would not resume diplomatic talks with China, France, Russia, the UK, the U.S. and Germany if the nuclear topic were to be raised.