There was an outcry by Iranian news media when French President Nicholas Sarkozy warned the leaders of the Islamic Republic that “Iran is taking a major risk in continuing the process to obtain a military nuclear capacity”. In a meeting in Damascus on Thursday last week with the Syrian, Turkish and Qatari leaders, Mr. Sarkozy further elaborated his speculation: “One day, whatever the Israeli government, we could find one morning that Israel has struck.” “We must avoid that catastrophe”, he told in a press conference.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad promised to help resolve the standoff with Iran, which is a close ally of Syria. Ironically, the country itself is under suspicion by some of working on a clandestine nuclear program. In September last year, an Israeli air strike had destroyed a site at Al Kibar in the northeastern Syrian desert near the river Euphrates which was assumed to be a nuclear reactor under construction. UN nuclear inspectors have been visiting Syria in the meantime.
Anyway, on Thursday, Mr. Assad pledged: “Of course the West is frightened. We don’t want the nuclear bomb in the Middle East.”
On June 23, only two weeks after Israel’s major military exercise of its air force over the Mediterranean Sea, which was widely perceived to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Mr. Sarkozy had asserted at Israel’s parliament, the Knesset: “Iran’s nuclear program requires a firm response on the part of the international community. Israel is not alone.” That has widely been interpreted as a warning for Israel not to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities on its own.
The next report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about Iran’s “alleged studies” incompatible with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is expected in the coming days. Iran is planning new military maneuvers in the meantime.