By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy has warned that a military strike on Iran would “trigger war and chaos in the Middle East.”
His comments come days ahead of a European Union debate on possible oil sanctions against Tehran over its disputed nuclear program and with tensions seemingly escalating between Iran and the West.
“Let me share two of my convictions with you,” Sarkozy said. “The first is that a military intervention would not solve the problem but it would unleash war and chaos in the Middle East and maybe, alas, even more than that. All must be done to avoid a military intervention.”
Speaking to diplomats in Paris, Sarkozy said military intervention would not solve the problem of Iran’s nuclear program, which Western powers suspect is aimed at making atomic weapons.
Iran denies the charge, but the UN atomic watchdog recently accused Iran of carrying out work “specific to nuclear weapons.”
Sarkozy said France “would do everything to avoid a military intervention, calling instead for “much stronger sanctions” against Tehran.
EU foreign ministers are scheduled to discuss fresh sanctions against Iran on January 23, including whether the bloc will
Meanwhile, U.S. officials alleged on January 19 that they had discovered efforts by Iran to help its ally Syria evade U.S. sanctions against Syrian petroleum exports by secretly importing crude oil and passing along the resulting revenues to Damascus.