Why Is France So Tough on Iran?

france-foriegn-ministerAfter a couple of days of intensive discussions at the foreign minister level this past weekend, negotiations between Iran and the group known as the P-5 +1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China – plus Germany) hit a snag. Even the interim agreement Secretary of State John Kerry had been pushing for as a first good faith, confidence-building step – an exchange of some limited sanctions relief, such as unfreezing certain Iranian assets held in U.S. banks and some easing of trading restrictions, for a partial enrichment freeze – was beyond the negotiators’ reach. Talks are set to resume, albeit at a lower level, in about ten days.

Kerry is now pointing to Iran as the reason for the impasse because the text of the interim arrangement offered to Iran failed to formally recognize Iran’s claim to an inherent right to enrich uranium on its own soil. Nevertheless, Kerry tried to put a happy face on the fact that the parties were at least talking substance rather than posturing. “There’s no question in my mind that we are closer now, as we leave Geneva, than we were when we came, and that with good work and good faith over the course of the next weeks, we can in fact secure our goal,” Kerry said following the resultless talks.

Kerry’s Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, also sounded an optimistic note. “We are all on the same wavelength, and that gives us the impetus to go forward when we meet again,” Zarif said. And perhaps to demonstrate its desire to allay concerns over its nuclear program, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization reached an agreement in Tehran on Monday with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to permit expanded inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites.

Rather than be a cause for celebration, however, this IAEA inspection deal itself should raise concerns. It notably fails to include within the scope of the expanded inspections Iran’s Parchin military facility where explosive tests are suspected to have been carried out related to possible nuclear triggers. What is Iran hiding?  Its nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the pact with IAEA is intended as “a roadmap that clarifies the mutual steps required for resolving the outstanding issues.” At this point, we don’t need doubletalk about drawing up a roadmap. The destination for the IAEA should be clear enough – unfettered international inspection of all Iranian nuclear related facilities.

Israel’s skepticism over Iran’s intentions is well known. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned against any interim or partial deal. “Distrust, dismantle and verify,” he said in his address to the UN General Assembly last September in describing what must be done with respect to Iran’s nuclear program. In more succinct terms, he said on Monday that if there is a final agreement, it must “deny Iran a military nuclear capability.”

The French too have their doubts about Iran’s intentions, based on Iran’s past record of using deception and delay as negotiating tactics. The French are skeptical of the kind of symbolic gestures that Iran has dangled in front of the Europeans in the past, while buying precious time to ramp up its uranium enrichment program.  Evidently, the French remember being burned a decade ago by nice-sounding but meaningless promises coming from Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator at the time who just happens to be Iran’s president today – Hassan Rouhani. This time France wants a verifiable commitment from Iran to reduce the purity of its stockpile of highly enriched uranium before France would be comfortable agreeing to any softening of the sanctions. France has also been the most insistent on demanding a complete halt immediately of operations at Iran’s Arak research reactor facility, which could be used to produce bomb-grade plutonium.

Although the French are participating in the current negotiations, they reportedly balked at the prospect of any deal they thought would give Iran too much room to cheat. Talking tough over the weekend while talks with Iran were still underway, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on France Inter radio that France could not accept a “sucker’s deal.” He added that “The security concerns of Israel and all the countries of the region have to be taken into account.”

The French appear to be the only adults in the negotiating room. The Obama administration in particular is so anxious to begin dismantling all of the painful work of implementing the sanctions regime in return for the appearance of bringing Iran around on a diplomatic resolution of its nuclear program that President Obama has already been negotiating with himself and making unilateral concessions to Iran. Going back as far as last summer, he reportedly froze Treasury Department blacklisting of some Iranian individuals and entities associated with Iran’s nuclear program, according to a report last Friday in the Daily Beast. Such unilateral easing of the kind of restrictions that Obama was pressured by Congress to impose in the first place belies John Kerry’s blather on Meet The Press last Sunday that “We are not blind and I don’t think we are stupid.”

Why do the French enter the negotiations with Iran with their eyes wide open? As mentioned above, they have already been burned at least once in past negotiations.

Moreover, a Commentary Magazine article theorizes that French leaders may recall when France had warned Israel back in 1967 not to launch a preemptive attack or face a cut-off of military aid, a warning which Israel disregarded despite the fact that France was then Israel’s single major supplier of advanced fighter jets. “Facing what it deemed an existential threat, it decided that even the loss of its sole military supplier was the lesser evil,” the author of the Commentary Magazine article, Evelyn Gordon, wrote. “France knows that today, Israel deems Iran’s nuclear program an existential threat. France also knows that Israel would probably risk less by defying the Obama administration than it did by defying France in 1967.” This could trigger a chain reaction leading to a full scale war. Taking Israel’s concerns more seriously this time might forestall such an outcome.

Finally, France’s stance on Iran is part of its larger foreign policy of muscular diplomacy. The French intervened unilaterally in Mali, for example, to repel the jihadist advance that threatened to engulf that entire African country. It also has been the leading advocate among the Western allies for collective military action to protect civilians against gross human rights violations. It led from the front in Libya, for example. It tried unsuccessfully to galvanize more concerted action against the Assad regime in Syria.

France was not about to let itself be rolled over by the Iranian experts of deceit once again, given the fact that the theocrat Ayatollah Khamenei remains in charge.

Whatever France’s motive may have been for insisting on tougher conditions for any softening of the sanctions, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) got it right when he said “Thank God for France!”

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  • kermit the frog

    France has just recieved a $1.5 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. France is keeping the customers satisfied.

    • tickletik

      Thanks man. It would have been funny (and far more accurate). If your one line had been the entire body of this article

  • Mladen_Andrijasevic

    The quintessence of the US-Israel split on Iran –

    The difference on Iran between Israel and the US is fundamental. Netanyahu understands that the Mutually Assured Destruction MAD doctrine is inapplicable to Iran and therefore the threat from Iran is global and orders of magnitude more severe than if this were not the case.

    The US apparently believes Bernard Lewis is some looney professor who has no idea what he is talking about.

    • larry ortmann

      I don’t understand. Why exactly doesn’t MAD apply to Iran? Iran has absolutly no record of incalcuability or self-destructiveness.

      And Bernhard Lewis IS a looney professor who’s views on Iran are as bizzare as Ahmedinejads on Israel and who globaly discredited himself with his ridiculous 2006 doomsday prophecys.

      • Mladen_Andrijasevic

        Why don’t you read up on what the Twelvers believe in?

        For if scholars of Islam Raphael Israeli, former CIA director James Woolsey , former CIA spy who spent 10 years among the Revolutionary Guards, Reza Kahlili and German scholar Matthias Kuntzel , all believe that the Iranian threat is real you better do your homework and educate yourself first

      • tic…tic…BOOM

        Because they want to die for islam. They export terrorism. Get it now?


        “And Bernhard Lewis IS a looney professor who’s views on Iran are as
        bizzare as Ahmedinejads on Israel and who globaly discredited himself
        with his ridiculous 2006 doomsday prophecys.”

        Show us where Prof. Lewis leads a throng of 10’s of thousand chanting “Death to Iran”, as the little hitler ahmedinejads has done chanting “Death to America”?

      • Rob Hobart

        You’re either an utter ignoramus or an apologist for the mullahs. Which is it?

  • fish

    Also, French people take pleasure in doing the opposite of whatever America does. Just coz…

    • Chezwick

      That was my first thought as I read the article. If Romney were prez and was taking a hard-line, I’m sure the French would be quite dovish in response.

      • Johnnnyboy

        If we were taking a hard line that would relieve France of the burden of doing it. Bet-ya they would like us to take the lead. It would be easier.

    • The March Hare

      However, John Kerry is the French connection given his Mother being born in France to American parents and his constant link to these French roots throughout his life. He speaks fluent French and has spent a good deal of his life in France, spending his summers there while growing up and a constant visitor.


      Same applies, more so, to the Ruskies.

    • Wrongeye

      No! It’s just a bonus ^^!

  • Guest

    ” John Kerry’s blather on Meet The Press last Sunday that “We are not blind and I don’t think we are stupid”

    Oh please, this retard is just as nauseatingly stupid as his boss.

  • Hass

    “John Kerry’s blather on Meet The Press last Sunday that – We are not blind and I don’t think we are that stupid”

    Oh please, this retard is just as nauseatingly stupid as his boss.

  • http://fdnyretiree.com/ Ed FDNYRetiree

    Perhaps because the French have had enough of bagheads and Mooslims wrecking their country?



      • http://fdnyretiree.com/ Ed FDNYRetiree


        You forgot about the Muzzies in France.

    • limp gally

      “Wrecking their country?”. Frances’ murder rate is less than a fifth than that of the USA. So who is wrecking what?

      • http://fdnyretiree.com/ Ed FDNYRetiree

        That’s because France doesn’t have BLACKS!

        • cranky.white.woman

          You’re wrong about that. They have MANY Somalis — MUSLIM Somalis — living there.

          • http://fdnyretiree.com/ Ed FDNYRetiree

            You are correct, of course, and I should have been more definitive.

            I meant “American type” blacks.

            But yup, you are absolutely right.

      • defcon 4

        HOw many no-go islam0fascist zones exist in France now? Then again, you probably don’t have any problem w/islam0fascist no-go zones.


    Rev. Jeremiah Wrights sermons are still ringing in Obamas ears.

    “— damn America!”

  • drthomasedavis

    It is impossible to negotiate with muslims. their intractability can be softened by one method only. Drop a blockbuster bomb on Qom or Teheran. That they MIGHT understand. They hate all that is not Islamic, not practiced by Muhammad or not in the Quran or the Haditha.

  • Marty

    The french may have finally grown a backbone. Hopefully, this means that other european countries, most of which are laced with anti-semitism, will finally realize that islam is the enemy and iran the greatest supporter fo terrorism.

  • Mekus Milkdud

    Obummer hates white America as much as Michele does, he really wants to tear down anything white and replace it with black Muslims. just like holder and his black panthers and black Caucasus and his black preachers. every thing obummer does helps the Muslims and they promote black race violence on whites and of course they bring in thousands of somalians and hatians to carry out the war on whitey. and they they allow millions of illegals to come there and vote democreap and they have all these people to program to hate whites, every non white the blacks can program to hate whites the more they have to help in the war on withes.

  • Mekus Milkdud

    any one with a brain can see if Iran has nukes they will blow Israel off the face of the earth but that is exactly what obummers wants . obummer would love to see Israel fall he has been planning it for a long time. obummer is a liar and got into office by pretending to be a christian. he is really a Muslim and it is a shame that so many whites voted for him

  • dougjmiller

    Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East is dicatated by his benefactors in the oil rich Arabian Peninsula. His masters may hate the Jews but they are scared to death of the radical Islamic dicatatorship in Iran who have threatened them many times. Eventually Obama will allow Israel to end the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons’ program and put the Ayatollah’s back in their place. But first he’s going to bleed the Jews. That way Obama will get a bigger payout from his bosses.

  • Walter Sieruk

    The rulers of Iran want to go nuclear to obtain W.M. D. because of their bellef in Islam.On the subject of the founder and prophet of Islam and also Islam itself, which is an important topic. It thus needs to be stated that it should be known that Muhammad was false prophet and that Islam is a false religion. To back this statement up the teaching of warning of the words of Jesus are place to start. For Jesus warned “Beware of false prophets , which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 5:15. That the above words and warnings may apply to Muhammad is further explained in the Bible in Isaiah 8:20. Which teaches “To the law of the Testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is not light in them.” [KJV] In other words if a teacher or prophet has teachings or doctrines that are in contradiction to the Word of God [the Bible]the that person is a false teacher or false prophet. This also may apply to a religion that has doctrines that are in contradiction to the Bible. Islam denies the teachings that Jesus is God. This is in great contrast to the Bible as well as Christianity. For example, that Jesus is God may be in John 1-13. Romans 9:5. Colossians 1:15-17. Hebrews 1:8. Second Peter 1:1. Titus 2:13. First John 5:20. Moreover, alone needs to do to further find out that Jesus is God is to compare the Old Testament with the New Testament. Just two example is to compare Isaiah 45:22,23 with Philippians 2: 5-11. Likewise to compare Psalm 89:8,9. with Matthew 8:23-27 will further confirm Jesus to be God. Furthermore, just comparing the New Testament with itself will also show Jesus to be God. As comparing John 5;22 with Romans 14:12. These are just a few of the many places in the Bible where the Deity of Christ may be found. The imams and mullahs to try to cover this up by claiming that the Bible has been corrupted through time by Christians. There are many things wrong with this claim. One of them is that by saying this these Islamic clerics are denying the Power of God to protect His Word and preserve it from corruption of evil men. What kind of powerless god can’t keep his word intact through time from the corruption by wicked men. The True God of the Bible is almightly and has the Power to preserves and keep His Word in tact through time from the corruption of heinous men. In Short, Muhammad was a false prophet and Islam is a false religion.

  • govsurveillance

    it appears we should be thankful for russia and france guiding our boy and extremely clueless president through the shark infested ins and outs of foreign affairs . . . needless to say oblather has three years yet to continue to put the country in extreme danger because of his agenda and incompetence

  • Johnnie the Jew

    Iran was once a great culture when it was Persia and Zoroastrianism dominated then they were invaded by IDIOTLAM and look where they are now. Intellectually and culturally retarded. Respect to the French here. They produced the Marquis de Sade who described Idiotlam as an “idiot bastard religion” back in the 1800s without the aid of the angel Gabriel ! Yeah and so what who sells arms to who. This puling riposte from limp wristed “progressive” liberals who are just sanitised lefties at heart (Guardian readers in the UK) about hypocrisy in terms of the arms trade is just a convenient distraction. Humans are hard wired for it. Morality isn’t universal and categorical. As John Gray states “it’s a convenience, to be relied upon only in normal times”.

  • defcon 4

    “stupid”? Or dishonest?

  • chuckie2u

    I guess the Saudis decided since the U.S. didn’t invade Syria and supported the MBH in Egypt they would rather spend a $1.5 Billion with France. Maybe we should get out of the Middle East mess and let France send in their troops as needed.
    Somehow I get the drift the Saudis are not interested in supporting the Brotherhood and are as concerned over a Nuclear Iran as Israel .

  • Geoffrey_Britain

    France is fully on board with the International left. That said, France is well within range of Iran’s current missile technology and facing nuclear armed missiles is not something they are willing to do for the ’cause’. They are after all, surrender monkeys.

    The left is not unaware of the threat from Islam but views Islamic jihad as a tool to destabilize the US. Once Islam’s usefulness as a tool of destabilization has become counter-productive, the left will rein in Islam.

    Does anyone really imagine that Putin and the ChiComs will hesitate to nuke Mecca should Islamic terrorism become a real threat to them? Remember we are not talking of liberal “useful idiots” but committed, leftist ideologues who have repeatedly demonstrated the requisite ruthlessness needed to deal with Islam’s jihadists and their supporter’s, the cafeteria Muslims who turn a blind eye to Islam’s actual dictates.

    • cranky.white.woman

      “The left is not unaware of the threat from Islam but views Islamic jihad as a tool to destabilize the US. Once Islam’s usefulness as a tool of destabilization has become counter-productive, the left will rein in Islam.”

      I think it would be more correct to say the Left THINKS they’ll rein in Islam.

    • Guest

      How do you call the intervention in Mali if French are so called surrender monkeys “lovers” not fighter?
      You should get

    • Remi P

      How do you call the intervention in Mali if French are so called surrender monkeys “lovers” not fighter?
      You should get a brain somewhere in a Hospital and stop with your Cliché Rosbeef

  • defcon 4

    Most Parsi now live in India. The Zoroastrians are experiencing their own diaspora at the hands of the Iranian islam0nazis.

  • elle909

    Even Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov presented an unusually low profile in Geneva, abstaining from words of support for the American position. Speaking on condition of anonymity, members of the Russian delegation agreed that the deal on the table was a bad one.

    France blocked what it called “a sucker’s deal.”
    Which rather leads to a different question: Not “Why did France choose to stand alone against the deal?” But, rather, “why did the other major powers consider the terms acceptable?”
    also come to think,
    How do secular diplomats negotiate with people who, in their minds, would be violating “Allah’s will” by making deals with the “great Satan”?