Skip to main content

France steps up involvement on Iran, Palestine

France has been very proactive during talks on the Iranian framework agreement, and it intends to extend this proactive attitude to the Palestinian issue.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (C) walks with others during a break in a meeting with world representatives seeking to pin down a nuclear deal with Iran at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne March 31, 2015. The United States said it was prepared to work past a midnight deadline into Wednesday if progress was being made towards clinching a preliminary nuclear deal between Iran and global powers. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool - RTR4VN93

On the chessboard of the Lausanne negotiations on the Iranian nuclear agreement, France evolved as a surprisingly independent player. Compared with the other negotiating powers, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius espoused the toughest positions in relation to the timeline for lifting sanctions, the nature of inspections and curtailing Iran's ability to continue nuclear research and development. The French, who have earned a reputation as the appeasing side in such negotiations, emerged this time as the tough guy within the six world powers and the most proactive European player.

A senior French official at the Quai d'Orsay (French Foreign Ministry) told Al-Monitor that the policy adopted by French President Francois Hollande and Fabius is related to the French strategic view on the future of a Middle East in transition. This strategic approach of backing authoritarian regimes as opposed to irredentist and terrorist organizations has already been manifested in cases such as supporting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's fight against the Muslim Brotherhood. France also sides with the pragmatic Sunni forces of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. This, he explained, is amplified by France's economic interests in Saudi Arabia, including the massive Saudi financing of French arms deals with Lebanon.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.