France calls for UN Security Council meeting over 'worrying' Iran nuclear report
French FM says ready to toughen sanctions on Iran to 'unprecedented' levels after IAEA reveals Iran is working to develop atomic weapons.
France said on Wednesday it wanted to convene the UN Security Council and could push for unprecedented sanctions against Iran after an International Atomic Energy Agency report said Iran had worked to develop an atomic bomb design.
"Convening of the UN Security Council is called for," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told RFI radio.
In a statement, Juppe said diplomatic pressure needed to be ramped up.
"If Iran refuses to conform to the demands of the international community and refuses any serious cooperation, we stand ready to adopt, with other willing countries, sanctions on an unprecedented scale," Juppe said.
Juppe told RFI radio tough sanctions were needed to "prevent Iran from continuing to obtain resources that allow it to pursue its activities in violation of all international rules".
The IAEA report - citing what it called credible information from member states and elsewhere - listed a series of activities applicable to developing nuclear weapons, such as high explosives testing and the development of an atomic bomb trigger.
Calling the report "a real source of worry," French Defense Minister Gerard Lonquet also called for tougher sanctions.
He told Canal+ television it was necessary to convince China and Russia, which are likely to oppose a fifth Security Council sanctions resolution against Iran.
China, meanwhile, called for a peaceful resolution of the Iran nuclear issue. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China was still studying the IAEA report, but urged Iran to show "flexibility" and "sincerity".
"China advocates using peaceful means to resolve the Iran nuclear issue," he told a daily news briefing.
The report, which was handed over to the 35-member states of the IAEA Board of Governors, details a series of tests, acquisition of materials, and technology that suggests Iran has continuously worked to produce a nuclear weapon since 2003.
A diplomatic source in Vienna told Haaretz that this is "the most damning report ever published by the IAEA and the conclusion arising from it is one: Iran is working to acquire a nuclear weapon."
Israel did not rush to respond to the IAEA report. The Prime Minister's Office said in a statement on Tuesday that Israel is studying the report and will issue a response later. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed his cabinet ministers not to discuss the report with the media until further notice.
Government officials said that Israel is waiting with its response because it wants to evaluate the world's response to the IAEA findings and does not want to appear to be leading the international community.