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Published on November 9, 2009
Press conference given by Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs (excerpts).

Paris, November 4, 2009

THE MINISTER – I wanted to say that I’m worried because there’s been a crackdown on the protest demonstrations in the streets of Tehran. (…)

I’m worried because the situation remains tense, as you probably know, and because, at the same time, on the nuclear issue, there are no answers to the questions raised by the committee of experts gathered in Vienna or to the proposals the Americans, Russians and we made. Which is a very bad omen for a new meeting in Geneva between the E3+3 for the talks to be able to continue.

None of this bodes well, I hope I’m wrong. (…)

Q. – What’s France’s position going to be? A strengthening of sanctions?

THE MINISTER – It’s not about sanctions, it’s about dialogue. The sanctions, if we don’t talk, will perhaps come later. I remind you that there have already been three resolutions with sanctions, adopted by the United Nations Security Council, with the Chinese and the Russians.

For the time being, it’s out of the question. Now we’re following the process initiated by the Americans, with our support of course. President Obama had said he wanted direct contact [with Iran]: so let’s talk.

The Americans have come to Geneva, the results of this meeting weren’t bad, I even believe it made progress. But there’s since been no response to the IAEA’s proposal of possible enrichment of uranium intended to fuel the Tehran medical-research reactor. So for the moment the situation is deadlocked, which I regret, but we’re not talking about sanctions at present. (…)

Q. – A final question, on the duration of the 5+1 talks. You talked about the end of the year, is there a deadline?

THE MINISTER – Everyone knows that the end of the year won’t be a deadline in the sense that after it things won’t be possible any more and before it things were possible. No, but I think that when we’ve waited four months for a response from the Iranians, it will be time to ask ourselves questions. Perhaps at the end of the year. (…)./.

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