Sarkozy warns of Israel-Iran war

French leader: We must act on Iran to avoid "disaster" of IAF strike.

April 13, 2010 07:15
2 minute read.
Obama greets Sarkozy during the official arrivals

Sarkozy Obama nuke Summit 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

If the world doesn’t act to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear arms, it could be responsible for a war between Israel and the Islamic Republic, French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned on Monday night, as the Nuclear Security Summit opened in Washington.

“I would not want the world to wake up to a conflict between Israel and Iran quite simply because the international community has been incapable of acting,” the French president told CBS News.

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An IAF strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be disastrous, he warned.

“It would be a disaster. I don’t even want to think about that possibility,” Sarkozy said. “And the best way to avoid this disaster scenario is to take measures in order to get Israel to understand that we are determined to ensure its security. And Israel, furthermore, must equally make the necessary effort in order to bring about a fair and lasting peace with their Palestinian neighbors.”

Sarkozy reiterated that a nuclear-armed Iran would be “dangerous and unacceptable,” particularly in light of “the many statements made by Iranian leaders against the democracy that is Israel.”

Patience with Iran had it limits, and so the time had come to vote for sanctions against the leaders “who are leading the country to the wall,” he said.

While a unified UN Security Council decision would be best, it must not come at the cost of a resolution so toothless that it would achieve nothing, Sarkozy added.

The French president said his own country could not give up its nuclear weapons, since doing so would jeopardize the nation’s security. He stressed that France was the only country in the world that had actually declared how many nuclear warheads it possessed – which, he emphasized, had been dropped to 300 – and that it had stopped all nuclear testing. However, he said, France can do no more than that at present.

“I feel that if I were to go any further, I could in fact jeopardize the security of my country, and as head of state, I am the guarantor and guarantee of that security,” he said.

Sarkozy went on to say that while everyone would applaud a “virtual world” with no nuclear weapons, such a reality was currently no more than “an awesome dream.”

“I have inherited the legacy of the efforts made by my predecessors to build up arms as a nuclear power, and I could not give up nuclear weapons, insofar as I wasn’t sure that the world was a stable and safe place,” he said. “I will not give up that nuclear weapon because it underpins my country’s security. I will not do so on a unilateral basis in a world as dangerous as the one in which we live in today.”

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