French President Nicolas Sarkozy Remarks on Iran at Seventeenth Ambassadors' Conference (Excerpts)

August 26, 2009

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Related Country: 

  • Iran
  • North Korea

. . .


Time isn't on our side either in the two nuclear proliferation and ballistic crises: in Iran and North Korea. They are developing before our eyes, day by day, and if we don't act, others might follow their lead. We won't be able to say that we weren't warned!

In Iran in particular, the political crisis has made people forget that during the crackdown, proliferation has been continuing; there are ever more nuclear materials, ever more missile tests and never has there been so little negotiation.

The same leaders are telling us, in Iran, that their nuclear programme is peaceful and that their elections were honest. Who can believe them?

Choosing their leadership is the Iranian people's responsibility. But preventing proliferation is ours. Barack Obama took the right decision by stretching out his hand and joining the Europeans, Russians and Chinese. The six parties are prepared to sit down tomorrow at the negotiating table. But for this we need an interlocutor ready to negotiate seriously. Yet today - and let's tell it like it is, with the same candour, because you can't be frank with some and hypocritical with others - we haven't received any positive responses to our proposals. None. We will take stock of the situation at the end of September, because we will all be in New York at that time. And if Iran doesn't change her policy, the question of strengthening sanctions very substantially will be clearly raised.

France will support harsh economic sanctions, commensurate with the stakes, in the Security Council and the European Council. And France will propose giving the IAEA stronger inspection powers for situations of this kind. We have no right to remain silent in the face of this looming crisis.

. . .