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Sarkozy warns against preventive strike on Iran

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday that a preventive strike on Iran could lead to a crisis in the region and called on world powers to toughen their sanctions on Tehran instead.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday that a preventive strike on Iran could lead to a crisis in the region and called on world powers to toughen their sanctions on Tehran instead.

"Iran's military, nuclear and ballistic [missile] ambitions pose a growing threat that could lead to a preventive strike on Iranian facilities and provoke a serious crisis, which France wants to avoid by all means," Sarkozy told French diplomats at an annual ambassador conference.

The West suspects Iran of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program, but the Islamic republic, which is already under four sets of international sanctions over its nuclear activities, insists it needs nuclear power solely for civilian purposes.

Talks between Iran and six world powers, including France, Russia and the United States, broke down in December last year.

"The international community can respond effectively [to Iranian nuclear threat] if it demonstrates unity, resoluteness and imposes even tougher sanctions," the French president said.

Israel has repeatedly signaled its readiness to attack Iran's nuclear facilities if diplomacy fails to dissuade Iran from moving forward with its uranium enrichment and ballistic missile development programs.

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