Sarkozy: Time running out for Iran diplomacy

French president calls for further sanctions of Iranian oil, freeze of Tehran's central bank assets.

January 20, 2012 14:51
1 minute read.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer)

PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday that Iran's leaders must be forced to negotiate over the country's uranium enrichment program because time was running out to avoid a military intervention.

"Everything should be done to avoid a military intervention... but time is running out," Sarkozy told foreign ambassadors gathered in Paris.

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"France will do everything to avoid military intervention but we need stronger, more decisive sanctions that stop the purchase of Iranian oil and freezes the assets of the central bank, and those who don't want that will be responsible for the risks of a military conflict."

Sarkozy urged Russia and China to back the sanctions, which are expected to be approved by European Union foreign ministers on Monday. Israel and the United States have not ruled out military action if Iran refuses to desist from its nuclear program.

Earlier this week, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said that the European Union foreign ministers are expected at a meeting on Monday to agree to an oil embargo against Iran and a freeze on the assets of its central bank. staff contributed to this article.

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