Chirac is thinking about another run as President. There is new turmoil, or more correctly a continued turmoil with French Yutes. Chirac also knows that depending on the outcome of the US election, Bush may find himself constrained by a Democrat controlled Congress. It is in Chirac's interest to show the initiative with Iran with very little cost to France.
The Chinese seem to have convinced North Korea to quiet down and Chirac just inked a huge Airbus deal in China. He is busy making other trade deals with the Chinese that will all play well for him in the next French election. Any costs to France of a mild slap at Iran through sanctions will be more than offset by the Chinese deals. Chirac will look good in leading the way to Iranian sanctions and that may neutralize criticism over the lack of progress in the Yute salute to French authorities.
Chirac for sanctions if talks collapse: Iran steps up enrichment
WUHAN (China), Oct 27:
French President Jacques Chirac said on Friday that if a stalemate developed in the dialogue with Iran over its nuclear programme then sanctions should be imposed.
“I hope that we can find a solution through dialogue,” Chirac said here.
“If it goes on and appears that the dialogue will not end, then it is probably necessary to find calibrated, adaptable, temporary and reversible sanctions that will be imposed to show Iran that the entire international community does not understand their position and is hostile to it.”
President Chirac’s statements followed reports from Iran that scientists had begun feeding gas into a second cascade of centrifuges to enrich uranium, defying UN threats of sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
“The second cascade was set up two weeks ago and this week gas was injected into them,” an official told the ISNA news agency in Tehran. “We have the product of the second cascade.”
Iran on Wednesday confirmed it had installed new equipment to step up uranium enrichment and said it would imminently start pumping gas into the equipment.
President Chirac said he had “never been a great believer in sanctions” and that he “has never been convinced of their effectiveness”.
But “in this particular case, it is obvious and the entire international community recognises this, notably China, but also Russia, the Europeans and the United States that the ambitions clearly signalled by Iran are not compatible with the idea we are making concerning non-proliferation.”
A top Iranian cleric in Tehran’s Friday sermon defied the UN over probable sanctions, calling again for a return to negotiations.
“If you want to go ahead with the sanctions, go ahead,” said Ahmad Khatami.
“You have imposed sanctions on us for the past 27 years. What did you gain? It was with these sanctions that Iranian youth reached nuclear energy and self-sufficiency.”
On Thursday in Beijing, a joint communique released by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Mr Chirac called on Iran to heed UN mandates over its nuclear programme and abide by an earlier Security Council resolution to abandon its uranium enrichment programme or face sanctions.
“The two sides call for respect of Security Council resolution 1696 and agree to pursue their joint efforts for a resolution of the nuclear issue to maintain a close permanent contact on this matter,” the statement said.—AFP
Masood Haider adds from United Nations: The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany on Friday remained at odds over a new draft resolution to impose sanctions on Iran.
The three European nations which had drafted the resolution — Britain, France and Germany — met for the first time on Thursday with the United States, Russia and China to discuss the sanctions.