French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had been well-briefed by his advisers before arriving in Jerusalem on March 25. His one and only mission on his first official visit to Israel was to clarify the extent to which France objects to destroying the Iran nuclear deal. The only way to go about that, Paris believed, was to send in the heavy guns. To that effect, the French foreign minister had backup. On the same day (March 26), in the same place (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office) and with the same objective in mind, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas paid a separate visit.
Anticipating Netanyahu’s rejection of the common European stance, Le Drian and Maas were careful not only to defend the agreement with Iran, but to also extend feelers on a possible compromise in the form of sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile program. Israeli sources told Al-Monitor that both ministers emphasized defense of the agreement in their meetings with Netanyahu. Any hopes Israel might have had of driving a wedge between Germany and France on the Iran issue proved futile.