France says Iran making nuclear weapons


France accused Iran yesterday of secretly making nuclear weapons, ditching Europe's traditional diplomatic caution for bluntness that echoed the tough U.S. position and reflected growing exasperation with Tehran.

Iran quickly denied the allegation by French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, who hardened the line that European negotiators had previously taken in their efforts to persuade Iran to suspend nuclear activities.

"No civilian nuclear program can explain the Iranian nuclear program. It is a clandestine military nuclear program," Mr. Douste-Blazy said on France-2 television.

Uranium enrichment can produce fuel both for nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. Iran resumed small-scale uranium enrichment last week but insists its nuclear activity is aimed solely at generating electricity.

The United Nations Security Council will consider Iran's nuclear activities next month. The council has the power to impose economic and political sanctions on Iran. -- AP