On Monday 27 August 2007, speaking at the conference of France’s ambassadors all meeting in Paris, President Nicolas Sarkozy declared: “An Iran with nuclear weapons is unacceptable to me, and I am weighing my words”. The crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme is "doubtless the most serious one in international affairs today”, he added, “France will spare no effort to convince Iran that it has much to gain from negotiating seriously with the Europeans, the Chinese and Russians, and of course the Americans”. France has a “total commitment to the current method which combines increasing sanctions with an opening-up if Iran chooses to respect its obligations... This method is the only one that can enable us to escape from a catastrophic alternative: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran.”
President Sarkozy seems unaware that on 13 July Iran made a major gesture, welcomed as such (according to the BBC) by the UN: it accepted the resumption of IAEA inspections, beginning with the inspection of one of its most sensitive nuclear facilities, the Arak heavy water reactor. Mohammed El-Baradei, the IAEA’s director, declared then that “deals such as this will serve as a way to defuse the ongoing diplomatic crisis over Iran". That agreement has been honoured within the specified time: a site-inspection indeed took place on July 30, lasting five hours.
Yet the French press, so quick to announce the slightest Iranian move that might appear provocative, barely said a word about this. Are France’s ambassadors and Foreign Minister also ignorant? Could they have forgotten to tell the President? Could the intelligence services fail also? Did President Bush not speak of it to President Sarkozy when they picnicked together on August 11? Could Bush be as “badly informed” about Iran as he claims he was about Iraq?
For good information, Nicolas Sarkozy, George W. Bush, their diplomatic services and intelligence agencies, not to mention the French and US press, should listen to the BBC... or should regularly visit ACDN’s website www.acdn.net. That would have enabled them, for example, to read on August 2: UN hails Iran nuclear agreement on the Arak Heavy Water facility and its French translation: “Iran’s Nuclear Programme: a Solution in Sight... and nobody mentions it!”.
But perhaps those silences are deliberate? Perhaps an Iran that is resistant to western injunctions, a “bombable Iran”, suits them better? On that count France also is “bombable”: under Nicolas Sarkozy as under previous presidents, she has refused to honour article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has therefore “chosen to NOT respect her obligations” under the NPT.
President Sarkozy, failing to mention this monumental contradiction any more than that agreement of 13 July between Iran and the IAEA (which he should have welcomed since he claims to favour diplomatic solutions), confronts us with an alternative: “the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran.” But if “an Iran with nuclear weapons is unacceptable” to him, and if Iran, irrespective of what it says or does, is considered guilty of what it is suspected, then, inexorably, Nicolas Sarkozy will lend France’s support to a new military adventure in the Middle East, supposing Washington (or Tel Aviv) happens to decide to start one. On this point, Sarkozy’s break with Jacques Chirac’s policies is complete. It is less complete when it comes to nuclear exports: in 1975 Jacques Chirac sold Saddam Hussein the “Osirak” reactor, which invited the Israeli bombing of June 1981 and then the “Gulf War” of 1991, and now Nicolas Sarkozy promises to provide a nice dictator named Gaddafi (and besides him all the muslim world except Iran) with the nuclear technology that is deemed to be dangerous only in the hands of the Iranian mullahs.
Under these circumstances, can one seriously say that President Sarkozy wishes to avoid catastrophe? No, he is preparing for catastrophe, in two ways, and preparing us for it.
But what does the parliamentary opposition think - if it still exists? What will the French people think when they discover they have been misinformed and manipulated, that France’s hypocrisy, which authorizes for her what it forbids others to have, is the surest agent of nuclear proliferation and of serial wars, wars that are called “pre-emptive” which means that they are expected to prevent the effects of the evil that the West has itself provoked?
In truth, the only two methods “that can enable us to escape from a catastrophic alternative”, are for France and the other nuclear-weapon states to finally implement the solemn commitment they made, when they signed the NPT, to eliminate their own arsenals; and for France to cease dispersing in all directions the “non-military” means for obtaining such weapons.
The only solution to save the planet is denuclearisation - the decision to exit without further delay from both military and civilian nuclear technology.
ACDN France (Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire), 30 August 2007