Iran warns West over talk of military confrontation

Iran warned Western nations on Monday against choosing confrontation over diplomacy a day after France's foreign minister said his country should prepare for war if Iran obtains nuclear weapons.

Iran warned Western nations onMondayagainst choosing confrontation over diplomacya day after France's foreign minister said his country should prepare for war if Iran obtains nuclear weapons.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini as saying Bernard Kouchner's remarks were "crisis-making" and "against France's high historical and cultural position."

The agency also quotedGen. Mohammad Hassan Koussechi of Iran's Revolutionary guardsas sayingU.S. forcesin the regionwere"within our range."

On Sunday, Kouchner warned that the world should prepare for war if Iran obtains nuclear weapons and said European leaders were considering their own economic sanctions against the Islamic country.

Speaking on RTL radio, Kouchner said that if "such a bomb is made … We must prepare ourselves for the worst, and the worst is war."

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon downplayed Kouchner's comments on Monday, saying France's role was to "lead the way to a peaceful solution."ButFillon also called for the "the most severe sanctions possible against the Iranian government" if it continues with its disputed nuclear program.

Tehran insists its atomic activities are peaceful andaimed only at stable supply of electricity for its 70 million residents. But the U.S., its European allies and other world powers suspect Iranian authorities of seeking nuclear weapons, citing its already rich oil and natural gas deposits.

'We need not to hype'Iran issue: UN nuclear chief

Meanwhile, onMonday, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency warned that theglobal communityshould remember the war in Iraq before considering military action against its regionalneighbour.

Mohamed ElBaradei said the use of force should only be considered as a last resort and only if authorized by the UN Security Council.

"I would not talk about any use of force," ElBaradei told reporters.

"There are rules on how to use force, and I would hope that everybody would have gotten the lesson after the Iraq situation, where 700,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives on the suspicion that a country has nuclear weapons.

"We need to be cool," he said. "We need not to hype the issue."

Negotiations and two sets of Security Council sanctions have failed to persuade Iran to stop its uranium enrichment program, a process that can produce fuel for nuclear power plants as well as material used in atomic weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly in New York next week.

With files from the Associated Press