Foreign Minister Fabius said France won’t accept a ‘sucker’s deal’ on Iran’s nuclear program, raising questions about its relationship with Iran.
“Tonight I’m eating FRENCH fries,” read a tweet this weekend from Rick Grenell, the US’s spokesperson at the UN when France opposed an invasion of Iraq in 2003, and who gave rise to the American term Freedom fries.
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His comments over the weekend were in response to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who went on air saying a deal with Iran flopped because France will not accept a sucker’s deal.
It’s unclear what actually went on in Geneva, as the “P5+1″ group that includes France, Russia, China, the US, Britain, and Germany seemed close to an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program but then failed. In fact US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that it was actually Iran that didn’t accept the terms.
But Mr. Fabius’s words have echoed around the globe, raising many questions about France’s relationship with Iran and its motivations in moving as far right as the most hawkish Americans some of whom continue to applaud their unlikely ally, France – on the question of Iran. Here are some of the theories, some cynical, some not, that are circulating:
The socialist government of French President Franois Hollande has adopted a muscular foreign policy that hasputit to the right of the Obama administrationon Libya, Mali, Syria, and now Iran. Along the way, it has also become Israel’s primary European ally and – after the US – arguably its closest friend in the world.
Paris has extensive knowledge of Iran’s nuclear program, which they helped establish decades ago by supplying Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi with the technology and equipment that helped him build a uranium enrichment facility near the city of Isfahan. Mark Dubowitz – the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a hawkish think-tank in Washington – said France was uniquely positioned to spot potential flaws in the agreement because it has an array of officials who have [been] working almost exclusively on nuclear issues for more than a decade and understand both the technical aspects of Iran’s nuclear program and the economic impact of the hard-hitting economic sanctions that have been imposed in response.
Despite all of the speculation surrounding France’s moves over the weekend, Mr. Joshi, the analyst in the UK, says it’s important to point out that it’s not clear what happened in Geneva and what exactly was rejected or why. Blaming France works in Iran’s favor, and as such, leaders there have vociferously condemned Fabius. But too much is unknown, Joshi says.
French or Freedom fries: What's behind France's move on Iranian nuclear deal?