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Behind the French Enthusiasm for Iran – Amb. Freddy Eytan (JCPA via Daily Alert)

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Sept. 23, 2019

Behind the French Enthusiasm for Iran – Amb. Freddy Eytan (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • From the day Emmanuel Macron entered the French Presidential Palace in May 2017, he has tried to improve France’s image in the international arena and play a central role in resolving conflicts. Macron is essentially the only leader on the Continent who is capable of “restoring the former glory” of the European community, maintaining friendly relations with all sides, and negotiating directly and equally with the leaders of the great powers.
  • Macron seeks to return to the doctrine of Gen. Charles de Gaulle, which entails following an independent foreign policy that will conform to that of the U.S. and the West only when it is in the interests of France. He has proposed giving Iran a credit line of $15 billion.
  • Despite their closeness to Iran, the French have always preferred the Sunni camp to the Shiites. During the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, France wholeheartedly supported Saddam Hussein. It supplied him with weapons and even a nuclear reactor (that was destroyed by Israel in 1981).
  • Macron’s primary motivation is economic. Since the imposition of new U.S. sanctions, the export of French products to Iran has fallen by 42%. France is the third-largest exporter to Iran in Europe after Germany and Italy. Total Energy and Renault built factories in Iran, employing thousands of locals. However, today both factories are almost idle.
  • The French president’s diplomatic moves are dangerous because Iran would receive the removal of the sanctions on a silver platter and financial credit even before talks began.
  • Israel’s recent discoveries of clandestine Iranian nuclear sites and Iran’s continued subversive operations in Syria, Iraq, and especially in Lebanon with the construction of accurate missiles for Hizbullah obligate the international community to consider the dangers that could threaten the Jewish state rather than looking only at economic gain.

    The writer is a former Foreign Ministry senior advisor who served in Israel’s embassies in Paris and Brussels and was Israel’s first Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

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