AFP: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has apologised to his Iranian counterpart over a media “misportrayal” of his recent warning about bracing for war with Iran over its nuclear programme, Iran’s state news agency reported Thursday. TEHRAN (AFP) French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has apologised to his Iranian counterpart over a media “misportrayal” of his recent warning about bracing for war with Iran over its nuclear programme, Iran’s state news agency reported Thursday.
In Paris, a French foreign ministry official said Kouchner and Iran’s Manouchehr Mottaki had held a “very substantial encounter” Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.
Their discussions “allowed the two countries’ positions on the Iranian nuclear question to be set out in a very clear fashion,” he said.
IRNA quoted Iran’s foreign ministry as saying the “French foreign minister in his meeting with the Iranian foreign minister … apologised that the media have unrealistically portrayed his comments.”
The French official made no mention of the reported apology.
IRNA also quoted Kouchner as saying France fully supported a recent agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency and indicating France was more in favour of the deal than the United States.
The accord sets a timetable for Tehran to answer outstanding questions over its nuclear programme in a bid to help the IAEA conclude its four-year investigation into the nature of the Iranian atomic drive.
Iran rejects Western charges that it is trying to build atomic weapons under the guise of its civilian nuclear program and insists it is entitled to pursue uranium enrichment as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany are discussing further possible sanctions against Iran after two rounds have failed to force it to stop enrichment.
“We support negotiations between Iran and (IAEA chief Mohamed) ElBaradei. The US does not give such support to the current cooperation between Iran and ElBaradei,” IRNA quoted Kouchner as saying.
“Iran is a great country and we have never been seeking war and we have always sought peace. I emphasise again that the diplomatic path is the only way of solving this dossier.”
Mottaki said “all sides should support the new round of cooperation between Iran and the IAEA. Currently the nuclear case is in the right place.”
Kouchner has said his comments over the risk of war were taken out of context and added he was was willing to go to Tehran if invited for talks on the nuclear standoff.
On September 16, he said: “We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war.
“We must negotiate right to the end,” with Iran, he said, but underlined that if Tehran possessed an atomic weapon, it would represent “a real danger for the whole world.”