French FM calls for getting tougher on Iran

Iran's controversial nuclear programme has dominated talks between the foreign ministers of France and Russia. Russia’s FM Sergey Lavrov has said he is concerned with reports that military action against the country is being considered.

His French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, said he wanted to see tougher sanctions imposed by the UN in order to ensure Iran is not using the programme as a decoy for building an atomic bomb.

“Everything must be done to avoid war. We need to constantly negotiate; we need to consider harsh sanctions against Iran, which are necessary to show how serious we are about this issue,” Bernard Kouchner said.

Russia, however, maintains that Iran's co-operation with the UN nuclear watchdog is proving fruitful and says more negotiations are the way to solve the crisis.

France's FM Kouchner is in Moscow for a two-day working visit. The visit comes as a preparation for the arrival of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, planned for next month.