Sarkozy: France Will Cut Nuclear Arsenal

Country will maintain 300 weapons, half its Cold War max
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 21, 2008 5:15 PM CDT
French President Nicolas Sarkozy inaugurates "the Terrible", a new generation nuclear-armed submarine, in Cherbourg, western France, Friday, March 21, 2008.    (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)
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(Newser) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy said today the country will cut its nuclear weapons arsenal to 300, or “half the maximum number we had during the Cold War,” the BBC reports. The move is aimed at cutting costs and modernizing the arsenal; Sarkozy said he is committed to maintaining France’s nuclear “strike force,” calling it the country’s “life-insurance policy.” France is thought to have 348 warheads currently.

The remarks were part of a major defense speech at the inauguration of a new nuclear submarine called "Le Terrible." He noted that “none of our weapons are targeted at anybody,” and he called for other countries to follow his lead in scaling back nuclear stocks. But he expressed suspicions about Iran's nuclear intentions, adding that any attack on his country would meet with a “severe riposte.”