Iran General NewsFrance keeps an eye on Iran while opening U.A.E....

France keeps an eye on Iran while opening U.A.E. base

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ImageWall Street Journal: French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived Monday in the United Arab Emirates, where he is set to inaugurate a French military base at a time of growing pressure on neighbor Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions.

The Wall Street Journal

By CHIP CUMMINS

ImageFrench President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived Monday in the United Arab Emirates, where he is set to inaugurate a French military base at a time of growing pressure on neighbor Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions.

The U.A.E. announced early last year it would host the small French installation. With 400 to 500 troops, the outpost comprises a naval base and a training camp. In addition, three French combat aircraft will be stationed at a nearby airbase.

The base opening, scheduled for Tuesday, comes amid recent saber-rattling from Iran in its standoff with the West over its nuclear ambitions.

Last week, Iran test-fired the latest in a series of sophisticated rockets that Western officials worry are part of a nuclear-weapons program. Iran says it is pursuing peaceful nuclear energy.

The administration of Barack Obama is reaching out diplomatically to Iran. However, Washington and other Western powers, in particular France, also threaten tougher sanctions if talks fail.

On Monday, Mr. Sarkozy brought that message to Tehran's backyard, just weeks before Iranian presidential elections.

"The Iranian authorities have to choose now," he was quoted saying in an interview conducted by the U.A.E.'s state news agency, ahead of his arrival. "Either they return to the international community fold, or face more…isolation."

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