France’s tough diplomacy during nuclear negotiations with Iran led to a stalemate earlier in November, but French demands have now been incorporated into the interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme inked on Sunday.
As talks on Iran's nuclear programme wrapped up with an interim deal in Geneva on Sunday, French President François Hollande took the opportunity to remind the international community of the key role that French diplomacy had played in the negotiations.
“The agreement respects the demands expressed by France in terms of uranium stockpiles and enrichment, a freeze on new facilities and international monitoring,” the French leader said in a statement on Sunday.
For Hollande, the “interim agreement represents an important step in the right direction” towards a comprehensive deal with Iran.
Fabius: "We'll have to be vigilant"
His cautious tone echoed comments by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who stuck to brief comments at the end of the Geneva meeting while other international negotiators engaged in a lengthy press conference.
“This agreement confirms Iran’s right to civil nuclear energy but totally prohibits the access to a military nuclear programme. Its implementation will be tightly controlled and we’ll have to be vigilant, of course,” Fabius said, highlighting France’s role in securing a solid agreement.
Since the return of Iranian and international representatives to the negotiating table earlier in the month, France has been striving to wrangle four additional commitments out of Iran.
Secret US-Iran talks
The Associated Press reported on Sunday that months of secret bilateral negotiations between US and Iranian officials were instrumental in sealing the Geneva agreement.
Senior American diplomats met their counterparts clandestinely on several occasions in the Gulf State of Oman in the past year, according to AP.
The direct talks remained hidden from the US’s closest allies until two months ago, which “may explain some of the tensions between the U.S. and France”.
The French newspaper le Canard enchaîné reported on November 20 that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius had privately complained of the discrepancy between official multilateral negotiations and a “a detailed accord John Kerry had negotiated in parallel with Iran”.
“Our first demand is to put all Iranian nuclear installations under international control immediately. Second request: suspend the enrichment of uranium at 20%. Third demand: reduce the existing stockpile. Finally, stop construction at the Arak reactor,” President Hollande said on November 17.
Those who did not trust Iran and opposed a deal, especially in US conservative circles, in Israel and in the Arab Gulf States, supported Fabius at the time. “Vive la France!” Republican US senator John McCain had even written on Twitter.
French demands now appear in the early details of the Geneva agreement released by the White House.
France’s former ambassador to Iran, François Nicoullaud, told FRANCE 24: “One can believe that the final agreement incorporates all points that France has raised in the process.”
French eyes will now turn to Iran to scrutinise the implementation of the deal. A French diplomatic source reminded FRANCE 24 that Iran had failed to fulfil its international obligations in the past.
Only the next six months will decide whether trust can be restored between Paris and Tehran.
IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL IN GENEVA
- France’s tough stance pays off on Iran nuclear deal
- Can sanctions relief revive Iran’s economy?
- Israel says Iran nuclear deal a 'historic mistake'
- The fine print of the Iran nuclear agreement
- Iran strikes landmark nuclear deal with world powers
- Kerry joins Iran nuclear talks in Geneva
- Iran hails 'considerable progress' in nuclear talks
- Iran nuclear talks stall over 'right to enrich' uranium
- Talks resume over Iran’s disputed nuclear programme
- World powers meet Iran for nuclear talks in Geneva
- Iran rejects demand to ship out uranium stockpiles
- Israel ready to 'stand alone' on Iran, Netanyahu says
- Obama, Rohani speak by phone on nuclear program
- Israel warns US over Iran’s ‘charm offensive’
- Iran wants nuclear deal within months, says Rohani
- Hollande first to break the ice with Iran’s Rohani
- Iran poses no threat to world peace, Rohani tells UN
- Obama meeting with Rohani 'too complicated' for Iran
- Obama extends olive branch to Iran in UN speech
- Iran takes control of Bushehr nuclear plant
- Iran’s Rohani ready for ‘serious’ nuclear talks
Date created : 2013-11-24