U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris%2C France on March 27%2C 2013
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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meeting in Paris, March 2013
Ah the French. Famous for croissants, pastry, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, the gift of the Statue of Liberty to the U.S. in 1886 have now become the diplomatic equivalent of a delinquent problem child by publicly criticizing an apparent deal between the U.N.'s P5+1 (U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany) and Iran in reaching a preliminary agreement with that country over its nuclear development program; this after they were in full agreement with the plan during the earlier private diplomatic negotiations.
Apparently having second thoughts, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in a public statement to the press put it this way, "One wants a deal"but not a suckers deal". [i]
Here in the U.S. Senator John McCain tweeted, "France had the courage to prevent a bad nuclear agreement with Iran. Vive la France". Thank you John for those keen words of insight, not.
McCain who never saw a war he didn't like and associated with the "bomb, bomb Iran" mad chorus but who in 2003 condemned France for not joining the Bush mobs "coalition of the willing" invading Iraq now views the new French diplomatic sniping more to his liking cheering the public denunciation of the deal by Fabius, the equivalent of tossing an IED, (improvised explosive device), from the sidelines into the diplomatic confab.
Rumors became rampant on the motives behind the French move i.e. France's desire to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf sheikhdoms while a former French official Francois Heisbourg, now Chairman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies intoned France "hates signing on the dotted line anything that appears to have been produced by Americans".
Heisbourg believed regarding French domestic politics, "standing up to the Americans will be a winner for Hollande's government", (led by French Prime Minister Francois Hollande).
Back in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani told the National Assembly, "sanctions, threats, contempt and discrimination" would not intimidate the country while the semi-official Fars news agency condemned the "destructive roles of France and Israel" behind the scuttling of the interim deal while posting a caricature of France as a frog firing a gun with the line, "By shooting he fells he is important".
Be that as it may, the six nation talks with Iran will resume November 20 in Geneva so the negotiations as the British would say are not "done and dusted".
But lets face it, France along with Britain and Germany aren't the key elements in these negotiations. The "west" is the U.S. with its European poodles alongside while Iran has Russia and China squarely behind it.
Obama and his administration need a deal with Iran for reasons of presidential posterity while attempting to salvage whatever is left of its reputation now seen as bunglers and incompetents internationally as well as domestically. They know a war with Iran would be a catastrophe. Even the American military is against it along with a war weary American public though previously plied with propaganda demonizing Iran isn't up for another Middle East war.
As to the French public it's hard to imagine them being overwrought over Iran's nuclear development program even though anything by America and Americans is usually scoffed at by them as crude and ignorant. Even the thought that English has now supplanted French as the more common international language of diplomacy is galling to them and a further blow to former French glory of empire and colonialism, now standing up to the Americans is this latest fit of pique (ala long ago French President Charles De Gaulle) is not new to French leadership and may lift French spirits.
But French glory has long been a thing of the past and this latest little sideline snub to the negotiations with Iran isn't going to restore it.
Israel along with Saudi Arabia, though neither are a direct part in the negotiations with Iran, are the key players behind the scenes in opposition to any detente with Iran and whether their influence can be resisted by the U.S. is not a given.
Let's hope this latest French inspired setback to the negotiations with Iran isn't the ultimate deal breaker for a settlement over its nuclear program and not give renewed life to the ranting of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Saudi monarchy, AIPAC , the neo-cons and their other assorted fellow travelers on the far right interested only in continuing the hostility and confrontation with Iran.
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