Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on August 25, 2010. AP
French President Nicolas Sarkozy Photo by AP
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned against any military intervention against Iran over its nuclear program, saying a strike on Iran would "trigger war and chaos in the Middle East."

At his annual New Year's address to diplomats in Paris, Sarkozy warned "a military intervention would not solve the problem (of Iran's nuclear program) but would trigger war and chaos in the Middle East and maybe the world."

France would "do everything to avoid a military intervention," he said, calling instead for "much stronger sanctions" against Iran.

Sarkozy's remarks come amid fresh tensions between Iran and the West since a report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog late last year, which said Iran had tested designs normally used to make a nuclear weapon.

European Union foreign ministers are likely to agree on extra sanctions, including an oil embargo and a freeze on the assets of Iran's central bank at a meeting on Monday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said.

Iran has reacted by threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway at the mouth of the Gulf, through which about 20 per cent of the world's daily oil trade is shipped.

Last month, Iran conducted military drills in the Strait.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said this week any decision on an Israeli attack was "very far off".

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