By Kenneth R. Timmerman
WASHINGTON — French President Jacques Chirac is attempting to sabotage U.S.-led efforts to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran, according to a report by the center-left French daily, Le Monde.
In a throwback to much-criticized behavior during the buildup to the Iraq war, Chirac planned to send his foreign minister on a secret trip to Tehran in late January, armed with a personal letter of assurances for Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the daily reported.
Chirac wanted “to send a message to the Iranian authorities that a channel of communication can be kept open despite the vote by the United Nations Security Council” to impose sanctions on Iran, the paper wrote.
The United Nations Security Council imposed a basket of economic and diplomatic sanctions on Iran under Security Council resolution 1737 on Dec. 23.
While some, including former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, have criticized the resolution as too weak, the Iranians were sufficiently concerned that they actively sought French help to get around the sanctions, Le Monde reported. CONTINUE