Yes, it’s come down to this.
John Kerry tried to Out-Appease the French. Instead he’s been Out-Cowboyed by the French… who are now harder on Iran than the US.
“We are for an agreement, that’s clear. But the agreement has got to be serious and credible. The initial text made progress but not enough,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, adding that France should avoid falling for “a fool’s game.”
Iran’s refusal to suspend work on a plutonium-producing reactor and downgrade its stockpile of higher-enriched uranium were standing in the way of an interim agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in return for easing of sanctions, France’s foreign minister said Saturday.
A Western diplomat in Geneva for the talks said the French were holding out for conditions on the Iranians tougher than those agreed to by the US and France’s other negotiating partners, raising doubts a final deal could be struck on Saturday.
Mr Fabius mentioned differences over Iran’s Arak reactor southeast of Tehran, which could produce enough plutonium for several nuclear weapons a year once it goes online. He also said there was disagreement over efforts to limit Iran’s uranium enrichment to levels that would require substantial further enriching before they could be used as the fissile core of a nuclear weapon.
French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal pointed to “rather large cohesion” among the negotiators, and said France wanted “the international community to see a serious change in the climate” of talks with Iran.
“There have been years of talks that have led to nothing,” Mr Nadal said, alluding to the need for tough terms on Iran.
But… but the nuance. Where’s the nuance? It’s not all black and white. We just have to be willing to reach any deal with Iran.
John Kerry brings the nuance. He brings lots of nuance. The French may be abandoning soft power appeasement, but Kerry is all about the appeasement.
Kerry said early Sunday morning that the Iran talks are “a long and interesting process, but a very productive one.”
“There’s no question in my mind that we are closer now (to a deal) as we leave Geneva,” he said.
“We are not blind, and I don’t think we’re stupid,” Mr Kerry told NBC’s Meet the Press program.
The Iranians… and even the French would beg to differ.