Not all of America’s negotiating partners were happy with the deal announce by President Obama. As talks proceeded past two deadlines last year, and the deadline earlier this week, the U.S. made a host of concessions. The American positions drew ire from France.
Today French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius gave a radio interview stating that France had rejected the original version of the deal as “not solid enough”, and wanted firmer conditions. But the Iranian delegation to walk out of the talks so Kerry gave in.
The French delegation was considered by observers to be one of the hardest bargainers of the P5+1 countries, a group which also included the U.S., Britain, Germany, Russia and China. Fabius told Europe 1 that France wants a firm deal “to prevent other countries in the Gulf such as Saudi Arabia from embarking on nuclear proliferation.”
As for the framework itself, Fabius called it a “very important” step, but noted that “the end of the road is the end of June.”
Last week it was reported that Obama was trying to bully France over the Iran negotiations.
A series of conversations between top American and French officials, including between President Obama and French President Francois Hollande, have seen Americans engage in behavior described as bullying by sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
The disagreement over France’s cautious position in regard to Iran threatens to erode U.S. relations with Paris, sources said.
But according to Foreign Policy Magazine, France will not be bullied:
The word from Paris has been equally unsupportive of the U.S. push for a deal. “France wants an agreement, but a robust one that really guarantees that Iran can have access to civilian nuclear power, but not the atomic bomb,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declared on March 21.
Not quite. France’s policy is dictated by a set of principles with regard to nonproliferation that have guided administrations on both sides of the political spectrum in the talks with Tehran since 2002. And the tension with Washington is just one expression of a larger disagreement between the two countries over U.S. strategy in the Middle East.
France felt the Americans were keeping France and the other negotiating partners in the dark about the talks. Rather than it being P5+1, it has really been the U.S. only talking to Iran. And the French negotiators complained in private the Americans were trying to “force them to make concessions on issues like the number of centrifuges allowed or sanctions.”
The French ambassador to the US tweeted his displeasure at the beginning of March, “We want a deal. They need a deal. The tactics and the result of the negotiation should reflect this asymmetry.”
And based in his radio interview this morning the French Foreign Minister believes that America negotiated out of weakness.