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Sarkozy: France Does Not Want War With Iran

French President Nicolas Sarkozy Thursday stressed that his nation does not want war with Iran.

In a televised interview, Mr. Sarkozy said he would not have used the word "war" when discussing possible outcomes of the dispute between western nations and Iran about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Mr. Sarkozy was referring to French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner's comments earlier this week. The diplomat said the world needed to prepare for the worst if issues with Iran remained unresolved, adding that "the worst is war."

France has taken an increasingly tough line in the dispute about Iran's nuclear program. France is calling for European companies to scale back ties with Iran to punish Tehran for refusing to suspend sensitive nuclear work.

French presidential spokesman David Martinon said European Union members should advise their companies not to start new businesses with Iran, and to urge banks to reduce investments there.

Martinon says Paris will encourage all EU governments to adopt additional economic measures against Iran, even if the bloc does not reach a consensus on the issue.

The French spokesman says additional EU measures against Iran are necessary because it may take time for the United Nations Security Council to agree on a third set of Iran sanctions.

The U.N. Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany will discuss possible further steps against Iran in Washington on Friday.

The U.S. and its allies fear that Iran is aiming to build nuclear weapons.

Iran denies seeking an atomic bomb and says its nuclear activities are aimed at generating electricity.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.