Iran Warns France against Unfriendly Approach towards Tehran

A02368765.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) – Iran’s Ambassador to Paris Ali Ahani has warned France to back off its tough stance on the Iranian nuclear program.

Ahani threatened economic consequences for French firms doing business in Iran if the Islamic Republic comes under new international sanctions.

Ahani told reporters Monday it would be “regrettable” if France continues its “alignment with the Americans” on Iran’s nuclear program.

The US-led European trio – Britain, France and Germany – claim Iran’s program masks a desire to build nuclear weapons. Iran insists it is designed to generate electricity.

Britain and France introduced a UN Security Council resolution Thursday to expand and toughen travel bans and the freezing of assets for more Iranian officials linked to the nuclear effort.

The US is at loggerheads with Iran over Tehran’s independent and home-grown nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington’s push for additional UN penalties contradicted the recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and a similar report by the IAEA head in November which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities, Russia and China increased resistance to any further punitive measures by the Security Council.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.

Iran has insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhovin.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East earlier this month has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush’s allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the growing international vigilance, specially following the latest IAEA and US intelligence reports.

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