Sarkozy in Damascus backs away from US-led condemnation of Iran’s nuclear program
French president Nicolas Sarkozy said in Damascus Wednesday, Sept 3: “Obviously there is a lack of confidence between Iran and the nations involved in this issue. We [the French] will continue our efforts for dialogue.”
In a clear departure from Washington’s position and in breach of his promises to Israel not to accept a nuclear Iran, Sarkozy omitted to refer to sanctions or any other penalties and clearly avoided recriminations against the Islamic Republic.
debkafile‘s Middle East sources report that the French president was preparing for a discussion on the Iranian nuclear program taking place in Damascus Thursday with Syrian president Bashar Assad, who will speak for Iran as its closest ally, Turkish prime minister Tayyep Erdogan and the Qatari ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
For the purpose of this conference, Sarkozy is presenting himself as the rotating president of the European Union, although his participation in the Damascus summit and his new policy departure on Iran has not been approved by any responsible EU body. The Qatari ruler will speak on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council of which he is president.
The purpose of their discussion will be to generate conditions that make an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear installations impossible, so degrading the US-Israeli stance on the issue.
When Sarkozy took office as president a year ago, his aides said they had intelligence evidence that Iran was making a nuclear bomb and could only be stopped by military action.
He is singing a different tune in Damascus, after hearing Assad state Wednesday that an attack on Iran would spell disaster. “No one in the world,” said the Syrian president, “will be able to bear the consequences of a non-peaceful action,” He echoed the dire threats coming from Tehran in the last week. One Iranian said an attack on Iran would start a world war.