Reuters: Iran’s president has suggested the Islamic Republic could review economic ties with France after comments by French officials about the possibility of war over Tehran’s nuclear programme, state radio reported on Friday. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s president has suggested the Islamic Republic could review economic ties with France after comments by French officials about the possibility of war over Tehran’s nuclear programme, state radio reported on Friday.
France, which opposed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, has taken a lead since Nicolas Sarkozy became president in calling for tougher sanctions on Iran and warning about the possibility of military action.
“Ahmadinejad did not attach much value to recent comments by French officials about Iran’s nuclear programme and talked of the possibility of reconsidering economic ties between Iran and France,” state radio said in a report on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remarks.
Ahmadinejad was then recorded as saying: “We very much doubt that it will adversely affect economic relations between our countries.”
But he then added: “We are not eager to continue economic relations with them (France) on this level because they have different levels in their political and economic relations (with Iran).”
“They talk a lot in the political field but they want to take the most advantage in the economic field,” he said, without elaborating further.
The radio said the comments were made by Ahmadinejad after his meetings in New York, where he spoke at the United Nations, but did not make clear the precise date.
France has said the European Union should consider imposing its own sanctions on Tehran outside a U.N. framework.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said this month France must prepare for the possibility of war, although he later played down his comments.
Kouchner said Paris had asked firms such as energy companies Total and Gaz de France not to bid in Iranian contracts. Several other big French firms now have business dealings with Iran, including carmaker Renault.
Iranian caretaker Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said on Wednesday his country would carry out a multi-billion dollar gas project without Total if the French oil giant bowed to political pressure to steer clear of the Islamic Republic.
In an earlier reaction to the comments by the French officials, a senior Iranian parliamentarian had suggested such remarks could damage Iran’s business ties with France but he did not specify any action that could be taken.