Speaking on France 2 television on Thursday, Philippe Douste-Blazy said: “No civilian nuclear programme can explain the Iranian nuclear programme. So it is a clandestine Iranian military nuclear programme.
“The international community has sent a very firm message by saying to the Iranians: ‘Come back to reason. Suspend all nuclear activity and the enrichment of uranium and the conversion of uranium’.
“They are not listening to us.”
China, which like France is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, urged a diplomatic resolution to the row on Thursday, a day after the United States said Tehran was defying the international community by resuming enrichment.
Iran on Tuesday resumed feeding uranium gas into centrifuges for nuclear-fuel enrichment after a break of two-and-a-half years, prompting a diplomatic showdown with the West.
China urges diplomacy
Iran has resumed small-scale
Qin Gang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokemsan, told a regular news briefing that “we’re extremely concerned about the status of the Iranian nuclear issue”.
He said: “It’s extremely important for the international community to uphold the consensus on resolving the Iran nuclear issue through diplomatic means and call on the related parties to maintain calm, restraint and patience.”
Douste-Blazy said the international community was united on the nuclear issue and that the Security Council would decide how to act after the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog submits a report on the situation next month.
Qin said Iran had a right to peaceful nuclear power but urged it to co-operate with the IAEA, which has demanded it suspend enrichment and co-operate with nuclear inspectors.
“We believe that a member country under the NPT has the right to peaceful use of nuclear power. At the same time, it should follow the relevant international rules,” Qin said.