Sarkozy threatens new sanctions against Iran
French president criticizes Islamic republic's leaders for their handling of post-election protests. 'These are the same leaders who tell us that the nuclear program is peaceful and that the elections were honest. Frankly, who believes them?' he says in speech
Sarkozy also urged other countries to follow France's example and limit bonuses handed out to bank traders to avert the kind of risk-taking blamed for fueling the financial crisis. French banks agreed Tuesday to change the way they hand out bonuses and penalize traders who lose money for their companies.
Sarkozy floated the possibility of "severe" new sanctions against Iran if it continues its nuclear activities.
The French president said in a speech Wednesday that "these are the same leaders, in Iran, who tell us that the nuclear program is peaceful and that the elections were honest. Frankly, who believes them?"
Sarkozy says France will support new sanctions and stronger inspection powers for the International Atomic Energy Agency if Iran does not suspend activities, which leading Western powers suspect are aimed at developing nuclear weapons.
"There are more and more tests, there have never been so few negotiations," he said.
Tehran says it is only seeking nuclear energy. Iranian leaders have also defended their handling of June 12 presidential elections that were marred by allegations of fraud and prompted mass opposition protests.
France to sponsor Israel-Syria talks?Sarkozy reached out to Iran's ally Syria, however, proposing to facilitate talks between Syria and Israel "if the two parties confirm their wish to do so."
Sarkozy sought Syria's help earlier this month in winning the release of French researcher Clotilde Reiss and embassy employee Nazak Afshar from an Iranian prison.
Afshar was released on bail, and France specifically thanked Syria for its help. Reiss, too, was released on bail, though neither can leave Iran pending a verdict. The women are among more than 100 people in a mass trial of pro-reform opposition supporters accused of trying to mount a "soft" revolution.
Sarkozy reiterated his appeal for a freeze in all Jewish settlement building in the Palestinian Territories, and said he would meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris next week.
"The truth is that there will be no peace if settlement is continued," he said.