Iran Focus: Paris, Sep. 21 – Top French nuclear experts and political dignitaries on Tuesday joined together to voice alarm over the threat of Irans suspected nuclear program and discussed various ways of dealing with a full-blown crisis.
Paris, Sep. 21 – Top French nuclear experts and political dignitaries on Tuesday joined together to voice alarm over the threat of Irans suspected nuclear program and discussed various ways of dealing with a full-blown crisis.
The discussion took place at a conference in Paris organised by the London-based research institute Gulf Intelligence Monitor.
The panels included several former prime ministers and ministers, as well as top nuclear experts. Renowned French philosopher André Glucksmann warned that an Iranian nuclear bomb represented the most serious threat to global peace and security since the Cold War.
Bruno Tertrais, director of defence studies in Frances prestigious Foundation for Strategic Research, said there were clear indications backing the claim that Irans nuclear program is intended to produce a bomb.
Georges Le Guelte, director of research at the Institute for International and Strategic Relations (IRIS), said it was time for Tehrans nuclear dossier to be hauled before the United Nations Security Council.
Mohammed Mohadessin, a leading figure in the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran, told the conference that if unchecked, Iran would have the nuclear bomb in two to three years. His comments received much attention, because Mohadessins NCRI was the first to unveil the existence of Irans secret nuclear facilities in 2002.
Frances former Prime Minister Edith Cresson said Irans bid to acquire nuclear weapons must be seen in the context of the growing radicalisation of the Islamic state. She said the West must act with unity and firmness, before it would be too late. Cresson praised the Iranian opposition for revealing Irans nuclear secrets and said the West must stand on the side of the Iranian people, who seek to change the current regime.
The vice-Chairman of the French Parliaments Foreign Affairs Committee and a former cabinet minister, François Loncle, said that it was not good enough to simply refer Tehran to the Security Council and called for further action to ensure that the Iranian government would face consequences for the resumption of its suspended nuclear activities.
His comments were endorsed by Claude Goasguen, a prominent member of French parliament from President Jacques Chiracs ruling UMP party, who said there was a clear need to support the political option in a resolute and creative way, including support for the Iranian opposition to the clerical tyranny.
There is no doubt that the radical Islamic regime in Iran today is the biggest threat on the global scene, Goasguen said.
Frédéric Encel, a professor of geopolitics in Paris universities, said that he was convinced from Tehrans recent activities and stances that it was pursuing a non-peaceful nuclear program and warned of a danger that the Islamic Republic would completely withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Simon Bailey, of the Gulf Intelligence Monitor, told Iran Focus on the sidelines of the conference that appeasement by the West, in particular two years of fruitless negotiations between Tehran and the European trio of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, had convinced Iran that ultimately the international community would accept, however grudgingly, Iran becoming a nuclear power.
The Iranian leadership is counting on two things: the U.S. being bogged down in Iraq, and high oil prices making prospects of economic sanctions against Iran very unlikely, he said.
Among the panellists calling for a fundamental change in policy vis-à-vis Tehran was Raymond Tanter, a founding member of the Washington-based Iran Policy Committee and a former staff member of the U.S. National Security Council. Tanter told the seminar that the West would never be safe from the threat of nuclear atomic-armed ayatollahs, unless it opted for the regime change option. He outlined a plan for coercive diplomacy, which included support for the Iranian opposition.
Sid-Ahmed Ghozali, the former Algerian Prime Minister, called for a united front in dealing with Tehrans nuclear menace.