Showing posts with label Iran. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iran. Show all posts

Monday, September 17, 2007

French fighting words

In speaking of Iran's stubborn refusal to abandon research that could lead to the production of nuclear weapons, French leaders have been using quite martial language.

On 27 August 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy set the tone in his foreign affairs speech to a gathering of French ambassadors: "Iran equipped with nuclear weapons would be unacceptable." He stated that UN sanctions—such as Resolution 1737 of the Security Council, adopted on 23 December 2006—were the only means of avoiding a catastrophic choice "between the Iranian bomb and the bombing of Iran".

This morning, Bernard Kouchner, French minister of Foreign Affairs, declared that we must "get ready for the worst, where the worst means war".

This afternoon, François Fillon, French prime minister, said that Iran "must understand that the tension is extreme". Then he backed up Kouchner by affirming: "The world is faced with a real threat of the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapon."

Do these bellicose words from Sarkozy, Kouchner and Fillon mean that France is getting geared up to envisage an attack of Iran? Certainly not, because Sarkozy has made it clear that force is not the right solution to this problem. They are merely pointing out explicitly that an atmosphere of potential warfare will exist as long as the UN sanctions approach has not been strengthened. In any case, the situation will probably become clearer after the forthcoming Washington meeting between the six nations [China, France, Germany, Russia, UK, USA] that are examining the possibility of extending the existing sanctions.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ordinary, all too ordinary

I've finally learned how to pronounce the name of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Once you get into the habit of pronouncing the syllables smoothly and rapidly, they just roll off the tongue: mah-meud ah-mah dee-neuh jad. A couple of days ago, he was interviewed for the first time by French TV, and he came across (in an erratic context of language translation) as a very ordinary guy. Too ordinary, in fact, to be true. The French often apply a silly expression to individuals who talk as if they might be sneering slightly and trying to avoid an authentic contact. They say that he/she has a tête à claques (slappable face). Watching him trying to avoid the direct questions asked politely by the calm French journalists, I couldn't help feeling that it would be fun to slap Mahmoud's bearded face. But I realize that my reaction is a variant of an obsession whenever I see a guy sporting a beard like a banner, for alleged religious reasons. I feel like taking out a can of pink aerosol paint and giving his beard a few spurts, to make it stand out even more clearly. [For red and purple robed cardinals of Rome, I would use white paint, or maybe simply the traditional technique of cream tarts.]

We learn this morning that Ahmadinejad won't be visiting New York as planned to address the UN Security Council. He claims that his delegation couldn't get their US visas in time. If it's true that the US embassy in Switzerland was sluggish in supplying these documents, it's indeed a shocking predicament, like missing a train because the ticket seller had stepped outside for a smoke. Let's await explanations.