Reuters: France said on Tuesday U.N. sanctions might have to be toughened against Iran if Tehran continues to ignore demands to rein in its nuclear activities and negotiate. PARIS (Reuters) – France said on Tuesday U.N. sanctions might have to be toughened against Iran if Tehran continues to ignore demands to rein in its nuclear activities and negotiate.
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday Iran had started to install 6,000 new centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facility, an expansion of nuclear work the West fears is aimed at building bombs.
Asked about Iran’s announcement, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told a news conference his reaction was one of “concern and vigilance”, adding that attempts to create a dialogue with Tehran had failed so far.
“I fear that we will have to continue on the path of sanctions if we do not receive a response from the Iranians,” he added.
The U.N. Security Council has passed three rounds of sanctions against Iran for failing to heed demands that it suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for power plants or, potentially, nuclear weapons.
Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil exporter, says it wants the nuclear technology to generate electricity.
Kouchner also said an assessment in the past few days of initial rounds of sanctions against Iran had shown there had been a damaging effect on the Iranian economy.
“I think that the Iranian economy would be better off without sanctions. I think that the Iranian population would be doing better if there were no sanctions,” he said.
(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Charles Dick)