American, Russian, Chinese, British and German diplomats are all hot and heavy about the new Iran deal, making Prime Minister Netanyahu look like the poor girl who wasn’t invited to the prom, but then, when all seems lost – French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says he doesn’t like the deal.
“There are still a couple of points that we are not satisfied with,” Fabius told a French radio station, among them the Arak nuclear plant and the fact that Iran gets to keep its stock of 20 percent enriched uranium.
“We are for an agreement, that’s clear. But the agreement has got to be serious and credible. The initial text made progress but not enough,” Fabius said, suggesting the French government will not fall for “a fool’s game.”
A Western diplomat in Geneva for the talks told The Associated Press it looks like they’ll need a new round of talks to reach a comprehensive agreement making sure Tehran’s nuclear program remains peaceful.
Mind you, France has the biggest system of peaceful nuclear plants in Europe, so they probably know a thing or two about how much enriched plutonium you need to keep the city lights on.
The same diplomat told the AP there would be an announcement later this weekend about a new meeting to be held in a few weeks. He said earlier that the conditions the French were holding out for were tougher than those agreed to by the U.S. and the rest of the powers involved. So, no deal on Saturday.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in Geneva: “We have now come to the phase of writing the agreement and we have also agreed on certain issues, but it is not yet clear if we can achieve the result tonight.”
Who would have thunk, that the one world power unwilling to capitulate to the Iranians would be the French.
I say, make those Freedom Fries French again…
And secretary John Kerry, the diplomatic genius who told Israel to go back to the 1967 border or go down in a third Intifada bloodbath, was on hand in Geneva to add his brand of calm professionalism on Friday. For one thing, he acknowledged there wasn’t a unified front:
“We hope to try to narrow those differences,” he said, “but I don’t think anybody should mistake that there aren’t some important gaps that have to be closed.”
Except he wasn’t talking about our French allies, he was talking about Foreign Minister Zarif.
Needless to say, in Tehran, Fabius’ comments were not well received, as a senior Iranian lawmaker accused him of “blackmail” and of trying to widen the gap between the Islamic Republic and the six world powers, Fars reported.
“The behavior of France’s representative in the nuclear negotiations shows that France seeks to blackmail the negotiations, and this illogical behavior should be confronted by the other members of the P5+1,” rapporteur of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, told Fars on Saturday.
He said that while the French people “want an improvement in relations” between France and Iran, the French government “unfortunately” prefers to stick to the Israeli view on the issue.
France insisted that Israel’s security concerns should not be ignored at the Geneva talks. Imagine that.
“We hope that the French foreign minister casts a logical look at the negotiations,” Naqavi Hosseini added.
If you ask me, it comes down to miles. Paris is within the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles, London not so much. And Germany? Who knows what they’re thinking.
Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Kerry and the Europeans that Israel will reject any deal with Iran. He said the international community should accept nothing less than the total shutdown of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
He repeated his warning about Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s “charm offensive.”
“One should not be taken in by Rouhani’s deceptive words,” Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. “The same Rouhani boasted in the past how he deceived the international community with nuclear talks, even as Iran was continuing with its nuclear program.”
Yes, he did, and he managed to manipulate the UN into permitting Iran to continue its nuke biz for half a decade – now, that’s some charm offensive!