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France Urges Israel Not to Attack Iran - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner speaks to journalists in his hotel in Jerusalem. (AP)

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner speaks to journalists in his hotel in Jerusalem. (AP)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has urged Israel not to launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, an Israeli newspaper reported on Sunday

Kouchner, in the region for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, urged the Jewish state to continue to support Western-backed sanctions and dialogue to press Iran to halt its atomic project, the Haaretz daily said.

“I know that in Israel, and the Israeli army, there are those who are preparing for a military solution or an attack” aimed at halting the Iranian program, Kouchner told the paper in an interview.

“In my opinion that’s not the solution,” he said, adding that the possibility of Iran achieving a nuclear weapon was also “absolutely unacceptable.”

Kouchner called the risk of an Israeli strike on Iran a “danger.” He said Tehran was aware Israel had said it would not wait until Iran could produce a nuclear bomb.

He said the West should pursue “talk, talk and more talk,” including further sanctions to persuade Iran to stop its nuclear program. Tehran denies seeking to build an atomic bomb, saying it only wants to generate electricity.

“I don’t think the alternative is to bomb first,” Kouchner said.

Kouchner said France believed Iran may be able to produce one atomic weapon within two to four years.

Tehran last month rejected a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding it halt its nuclear enrichment work.

Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East’s only nuclear power, sees Iran’s nuclear program as a security threat, citing remarks by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for the Jewish state’s demise.

File photo of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the presidential palace in Tehran. (AFP)

File photo of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the presidential palace in Tehran. (AFP)

File photo showing Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard performing in a play at their military base in northeastern Tehran September 8, 2008. (AP)

File photo showing Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard performing in a play at their military base in northeastern Tehran September 8, 2008. (AP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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