Iran slammed Chirac's remarks as "shameful" and "unacceptable".Hossein Shariatmadari, managing director of the Tehran daily Keyhan, had this to say:
"It is shameful for the people of France that their president brandishes atomic weapons on the pretext of fighting terrorism," Gholam Ali Hadad-Adel, speaker of Iran's right-wing parliament, said on Sunday.
I believe that Chirac made the threat on behalf of the West, but they (Westerners) know that such threats are just propaganda and psychological war that can not be implemented.On behalf of the West? I wouldn't know. But here is an email I had from a reader, suggesting the same thing:
Suppose he is doing just that, raising the stakes, but on behalf of all of Europe, the US, Australia and anybody else who might be the target of a terrorist dirty bomb.From the email of another reader, a different emphasis:
Suppose western intelligence agencies have come to a joint conclusion that there is now a dirty bomb (or
something equally scary) out there in the wrong hands, even if they don't know whose hands it is in.
Who would be the best person to get a message across from the west to the terrorists? Chirac is the most anti-US of them all. As Nixon went to China, Chirac can beat his shoe on the table in a unique way.
That no other western leader has batted an eye makes me think he could be talking for all of them. If they continue to let it pass, they are effectively allowing him to speak for them as well, whether by design, or prior unspoken understanding, or not.
Interesting post re Chirac's nuclear speech. Both his statement and the reaction or non-reaction to it don't really surprise me. France has always had a much tougher and martial spirit than most people seem to imagine. I think he was speaking for the domestic gallery which believes France is always justified in taking whatever action it feels like. I don't think they're at all against using extreme means, they just don't like it if the US does that, as they see themselves as true rivals to the US... It's also a typically French message in its subtle feinting and swaggering bluster. They know they can't really attack Iran - which is, I guess, the target of this statement - but they're basically saying, watch out we know what you're up to - and perhaps hoping the Iranians may fear they know rather more than they do... It's also a case of France's love of running its own independent reckless policy without any regard for what others might want to do. It dislikes the unilateralism of the US only because it's not theirs. But it is every bit as unilateral.One way or another, dangerous times.