France warns Iran of "unprecedented" sanctions

PARIS Wed Nov 9, 2011 4:00am EST

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PARIS (Reuters) - France said on Wednesday it wanted to convene the U.N. Security Council and could push for unprecedented sanctions against Iran after a U.N. nuclear watchdog report said Tehran had worked to develop an atomic bomb design.

"Convening of the U.N. Security Council is called for," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told RFI radio.

In a statement, Juppe said diplomatic pressure needed to be ramped up.

"If Iran refuses to conform to the demands of the international community and refuses any serious cooperation, we stand ready to adopt, with other willing countries, sanctions on an unprecedented scale," Juppe said.

Juppe told RFI radio tough sanctions were needed to "prevent Iran from continuing to obtain resources that allow it to pursue its activities in violation of all international rules."

The report from the International Atomic Energy Agency -- citing what it called credible information from member states and elsewhere -- listed a series of activities applicable to developing nuclear weapons, such as high explosives testing and the development of an atomic bomb trigger.

Calling the report "a real source of worry," Defense Minister Gerard Lonquet also called for tougher sanctions.

He told Canal+ television it was necessary to convince China and Russia, which are likely to oppose a fifth Security Council sanctions resolution against Iran.

(Reporting By Alexandria Sage, Sophie Louet and Nicholas Vinocur; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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