France continues to push for new sanctions against Iran through the European Union though a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers failed to approve the move.
The European Affairs Minister Pierre Lellouche told reporters after a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels on Monday that Tehran’s position regarding its nuclear program left the EU with no choice but to “prepare the sanctions process.”
“We hope Europeans will work together on preparing the sanctions,” underlined Lellouche, who has been seeking the sanctions since early December.
He said sanctions were needed because of “Iran’s refusal of all offers of a solution” made by the West.
The Iranian officials and observers insist that Western demands concerning the Iranian nuclear program are unreasonable and practically aimed at freezing the process. Iran rejects claims that its nuclear program is intended for weapons and has repeatedly called for the abolishment of all nuclear armaments, a call that has been ignored by the West.
“We have been in talks for six years. All the West’s proposals have been rejected and now if we listen to the Iranian spokesman, they are reaching 20 percent enrichment” of uranium in Iran, which is the “threshold to militarization,” Lellouche claimed.
His eagerness for uniting the EU to pressure Iran contrasted with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s comments on the same issue .
While warning Iran that “time is running out,” Merkel said more sanctions would be a “tragedy” for the Iranian people.
Earlier this month, a similar meeting between Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States in New York failed to reach any agreements on new sanctions.
Lellouche attended the meeting in the absence of the French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who was visiting Montréal for an international conference addressing the crisis in the quake-hit Haiti.