November 14th, 2013
08:49 AM ET

No nuclear deal? Don't just blame Tehran

By Fareed Zakaria

In diplomacy, transparency is often the enemy of progress. Negotiations are best conducted secretly until there is an agreement. When carried out in full public view, the process simply allows opponents to attack every concession made to one side, paying little attention to the concessions to the other. Even imagined concessions get attacked. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu furiously protested against the proposed deal with Iran even though, as Kerry suggested, he didn't actually know what was in it. Ironically, it is to prevent just this problem that Netanyahu has insisted that talks between Israel and the Palestinians take place in strict secrecy.

One party that did know what was in the proposed agreement was France. The French took the unusual step of breaking ranks with their Western colleagues to publicly denounce the deal on the table. This has led some to wonder whether France's strategy was to demonstrate its hard-line credentials to the most anti-Iranian states in the Middle East–Saudi Arabia, in particular–and thus gain favor. (Paris has signed a multibillion-dollar defense deal with Riyadh in recent months.) And of course, being anti-American comes naturally to a French President, especially one from the Socialist Party, like Francois Hollande.

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Topics: Iran

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    Indeed, Iranians have accused France of sabbotaging the deal. For a change, France assumed the unfamiliar role of national villain, as senior officials and state media in Tehran – long accustomed to spewing vitriol at anBritain, America and Israel – blamed "la grande nation" for scuppering the deal, that would partially relieve Iran of the biting sanctions.
    Anti-French bile was said to have appeared on the supreme leader's Twitter account and reflected Iranians' widespread anger at the game-spoiling role played by Laurent Fabius.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • ✠RZ✠

      Iraq was invaded on the false premise of having WMDs. Who lost? The Iraqis, the US taxpayer, and a lot of civilians and soldiers with their lives. Who won? The MIC.
      Removing the threat of nukes in Iran will take away the potential for an attack. Who will win? Iran, the US tax payer, and many civilians and soldiers whose lives will be spared. Who will lose? The MIC.
      The MIC without war is like a squirrel without a nut.

      The US Congress should at least pass a ten to twenty year moratorium on taking part in an attack on any other country unless it involves a confirmed direct attack on US soil. Let France, Israel, the Saudis, and others do the attacking. The MIC can happily supply all sides providing much needed income and employment for America.

      November 15, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
      • Thinker23

        "Iraq was invaded on the false premise of having WMDs."

        False assumptions always lead to false conclusions, my friend. The FACT that Saddam USED chemical weapons to kill some 60,000 Iraqi civilians proves beyond any doubt that he HAD them.

        November 17, 2013 at 6:37 am |
  2. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    November 15, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  3. brutus9448

    Since france wants to torpedo these talks I hope they are ready to pick up a gun and go to war when diplomacy fails. yea right. The first thing the french will do is wave the white flag. France can talk the talk but they will never walk the walk

    November 15, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Well, if Iran is PEACEFUL there will be no need for anyone to pick up a gun and go to war, brutus. On the other hand, if Iran is NOT peaceful then trying to pacify it by reducing sanctions is counterproductive and will result in the need for France and other countries to pick up a gun and go to war.

      November 17, 2013 at 6:40 am |

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