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December 8, 2007
Despite NIE, France and Germany want to pressure Iran
In a gratifying show of unity, France and Germany have indicated that despite the findings of the NIE that Iran stopped building nuclear weapons in 2003, they wish to maintain and increase sanctions to get the mullahs to halt their enrichment program:
Speaking at a joint news conference at the Élysée Palace, President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel said they had not changed their minds despite the findings of the American intelligence estimate released Monday, which some believed would have eroded support for tougher new sanctions. It bears mentioning that the Security Council voted sanctions on Iran not for their bomb making program but because the Iranians refused to halt their enrichment program as required by SC resolutions. The fact that the Iranians continue to enrich uranium in defiance of the UN is what is keeping France and Germany supporting the sanctions regime.
Their remarks came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice won the backing of NATO foreign ministers on Thursday for new United Nations sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. “The threat exists,” said Mr. Sarkozy, one of the staunchest defenders of the new sanctions. “Notwithstanding the latest elements, everyone is fully conscious of the fact that there is a will among the Iranian leaders to obtain nuclear weapons.”
“I don’t see why we should renounce sanctions,” he added. “What made Iran budge so far has been sanctions and firmness.”
It was also good to see NATO stand behind the Bush sanctions policy. NATO solidarity can't hurt as we continue to negotiate with the Russians to join the west in voting another round of sanctions.