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(photo credit: AP)
Teheran has summoned France's charge d'affairs to protest recent tough talk made by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Iran's state-run television reported Wednesday.
Last month, Kouchner said the world should "prepare for the worst" in Iran, specifically "war." Amid criticism, Kouchner later softened that, insisting he just wanted to underline the gravity of the Iranian nuclear problem.
"Kouchner, in unrealistic and irresponsible remarks, has accused the Islamic Republic of Iran of seeking to obtain a nuclear bomb," the broadcast said, adding that the charge d'affairs was summoned to Iran's Foreign Ministry to receive a formal protest over his remarks.
France has taken a tougher line on Iran over its disputed nuclear program since French President Nicolas Sarkozy took office in May. Last month, Sarkozy accused Iran directly of seeking nuclear weapons Thursday and suggested tougher sanctions against Teheran.
Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the world must "convince" Iran not to develop nuclear weapons, which would not enhance its security but "quite the contrary."
The United States and some of its allies including France accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Iran has denied the accusation, saying its nuclear program is geared toward generating electricity, not weapons.
Two UN Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran have failed to persuade Teheran to suspend uranium enrichment. In an address to the UN General Assembly last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the nuclear issue is "closed" and vowed to defy any Security Council move for more sanctions.
The United States, France and Britain are seeking a third round of sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel to generate electricity or the materials needed for a bomb.
Iran says it will never give up its right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel.
In a setback for the United States, Iran won a two-month reprieve from new UN sanctions over its nuclear program last week. Washington and its European allies ceded to Russian and Chinese demands to give Teheran more time to address international concerns.