France Is Holding Up an Iran Nuke Deal

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Nov. 11, 2013, 3:02 a.m.

There might be a his­tor­ic nuc­le­ar deal on the table between the five ma­jor world powers and Ir­an if it wasn’t for that med­dling France. Word com­ing out of ne­go­ti­ations in Geneva this week­end points to France as the lone hol­d­out for stricter sanc­tions than those agreed to by oth­er coun­tries. 

There was plenty of op­tim­ism head­ing in­to Sat­urday ne­go­ti­ations. But after mara­thon ne­go­ti­ations, France raised is­sues with the agree­ment on the table. The five of U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil’s per­man­ent coun­tries — China, Bri­tain, France, Rus­sia and the U.S. — are bar­gain­ing for a short-term agree­ment with Ir­an to re­strain the coun­try’s con­tro­ver­sial nuc­le­ar pro­gram and make it more trans­par­ent. In ex­change, the five coun­tries have agreed to lim­ited scale backs of in­ter­na­tion­al sanc­tions. France de­cided Sat­urday a deal must in­clude calls for Ir­an to shut­down its Arak nuc­le­ar re­act­or that “could pro­duce enough plutoni­um for sev­er­al nuc­le­ar weapons a year once it goes on­line,” ac­cord­ing to NBC News. There is so far no proof Ir­an has any in­ten­tion to build nuc­le­ar weapons. “As I speak to you, I can­not say there is any cer­tainty that we can con­clude,” French For­eign Min­is­ter Laurent Fabi­us told France Inter ra­dio. He said his coun­try couldn’t ac­cept a “suck­er’s deal”.

But oth­er dip­lo­mats are very clearly not pleased with their French coun­ter­part. More than a few were per­fectly fine with throw­ing France un­der the bus to the press. Per Re­u­ters

“The Amer­ic­ans, the EU and the Ir­a­ni­ans have been work­ing in­tens­ively to­geth­er for months on this pro­pos­al, and this is noth­ing more than an at­tempt by Fabi­us to in­sert him­self in­to rel­ev­ance late in the ne­go­ti­ations,” the dip­lo­mat told Re­u­ters, speak­ing on con­di­tion of an­onym­ity.

Is­rael will prob­ably be pleased with France’s be­ha­vi­or. Ne­go­ti­ations con­tin­ued late Sat­urday but a deal seemed fur­ther away than most ex­pec­ted Sat­urday morn­ing. All hope is not lost. Ir­a­ni­an For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­hammad Javad Za­rif told re­port­ers ne­go­ti­ations “will con­tin­ue in one week or 10 days,” if a deal isn’t reached this week­end.

Re­prin­ted with per­mis­sion from the At­lantic Wire. The ori­gin­al story — which ran on Sat­urday, Nov. 9 — can be found here.

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