Iran General NewsFrance's Sarkozy against military action in Iran

France’s Sarkozy against military action in Iran

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Reuters: French presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy opposed any talk of military intervention in Iran on Monday and said he was a friend of the United States but not an unquestioning one. PARIS, Feb 5 (Reuters) – French presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy opposed any talk of military intervention in Iran on Monday and said he was a friend of the United States but not an unquestioning one.

“There can be no question of a military intervention,” he told a television discussion programme in which he answered questions from the public.

Recent comments from U.S. President George W. Bush have prompted many commentators to suggest that Washington may be looking at possible military action against Iran, which has been at odds with the west over its nuclear ambitions.

Earlier this month Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States was not planning for war with Iran but was determined to stop Iranians supplying bombs for attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq.

Sarkozy, who is ahead of his Socialist rival Segolene Royal in recent opinion polls, caused a stir last year when he said during a visit to the United States that France had been too “arrogant” in the leadup to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

He has since said that he opposed the war.

But his image as an outsider ready to break with many of the traditions of French politics and his strained relations with Washington’s bugbear, President Jacques Chirac, have led to expectations that he would seek improved ties with Washington.

He said France had strong links to America but should not be afraid to follow different policies.

“Do I consider myself a friend of the Americans? My answer is yes,” he said.

“It is a democracy and we are a democracy. I hope we talk to the United States as friends but with friends, you’re not obliged to agree about everything.”

Sarkozy said he would step down from his position as interior minister a few weeks before the first round of the election on April 22 but he gave no precise date.

“I will leave at the moment where a minister has a duty of non-intervention … that’s to say a little bit more than a month before the election.”

Sarkozy has been under pressure to announce the date of his departure from the ministry, with political opponents demanding that he step down immediately.

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