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Mottaki: Paris follows US, British lead on Iran

Iran’s foreign minister has condemned comments made by his French counterpart about imposing more sanctions on Tehran for its nuclear program.

“The French must try to avoid the failed policies that Washington and London have employed during the past few years,” Manouchehr Mottaki said during a press conference in the Lebanese capital on Monday.

“It is better for Paris to adopt a policy that is in accordance with the country’s prestige,” he added.

Mottaki’s comments came after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that there was no other choice but to impose new sanctions on Tehran for what he called its refusal to cooperate on its nuclear program.

“I think there is no other solution,” Kouchner told journalists on Monday, adding that the exact nature of the sanctions was still under discussion.

He also said that although the sanctions would be difficult to put in place, they would be specific.

“The wealthy will be hit,” Kouchner claimed, implying that measures to restrict access to funds outside Iran were under consideration.

Kouchner’s promise that the sanctions would not target lower-income Iranians, came just days after debates at the US Congress about imposing embargoes on Tehran’s gasoline imports, a move that some believe may hurt the Iranian people in general.

Kouchner also claimed Russia had already agreed to go along with the sanctions, adding that he believed “the Chinese would follow.”

Tuesday comments made by the Chinese envoy to the UN Security Council, cast doubt on the accuracy of Kouchner’s words. La Yifan said that Beijing believes dialogue is the only way to resolve disputes over Iran’s nuclear program.

The West accuses Tehran of pursuing a military agenda with its nuclear program, despite the UN nuclear watchdog’s constant monitoring of Iran’s atomic facilities.

The two sides came close to ending the dispute through a deal back in August, but the powers refusal to appease Iran’s concerns over details of the agreement led to a temporary break down in talks over the issue.

The UN-backed proposal, which was first floated by the Obama administration, required Iran to send most of its domestically-enriched low-grade uranium out of the country for further refinement of up to 20 percent.

Iran needs the fuel for the Tehran reactor, which produces radioisotopes that are used in cancer treatment procedures in over 200 hospitals across the country.

Despite having accepted the general aspects of the draft deal, Iran refused to officially accept the proposal, as its concerns about the other side’s commitment to its obligations were not addressed.

Tehran wanted “concrete guarantees” that it would receive the promised fuel in exchange for the low-grade uranium it sends out of the country, as Western powers had an ill-record when it came to their nuclear commitments with regards to Tehran.

The Islamic Republic has put forth a counter-proposal suggesting that 400 kilograms of 3.5 percent enriched uranium be taken to the Island of Kish for a simultaneous swap with an amount equivalent to 20 percent of the original batch.

During his Monday comments, Mottaki warned the West that if they refuse to accept the deal based on those terms Iran would have no choice but to produce the 20-percent enriched uranium inside Iran, to keep the reactor going.

“The West’s hasty decision about providing the needed fuel for the Tehran reactor, which produces medical substances, showed the Iranian people the West’s true intentions,” said Mottaki.

“It demonstrated that despite the stance it takes, the West makes political decisions even when it comes to humanitarian issues,” he added.

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