France announces a draft resolution against Iran to the IAEA, confirming the “connection” between Paris and Washington
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday that Europeans will submit a draft resolution to the International Atomic Energy Agency condemning Iran’s suspension of some inspections related to its nuclear program. Le Drian explained to the Foreign Affairs Commission of the French National Assembly that the decision “will prompt us in the coming days to protest within the Board of Directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.” The move confirms the alignment between France and the United States in the main dossiers in the Middle East and what observers define as the “connection between Washington and Paris”.
New US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley studied at the Jeannine Manuel International Institute. Both graduated in 1980 in the fifteenth arrondissement founded after the war by a Franco-American resistance whose motto was, Blinken said, “think like the other”, or develop the ability to empathize with one’s interlocutors. The biographical data on Blinken and Malley might seem marginal were it not that the contacts between Washington and Paris have become increasingly intense, also facilitated by the French connection. On the Iranian nuclear dossier, Emmanuel Macron is the leader who has spent the most in mediation attempts over the past four years. He tried to defend the JCPOA deal torn apart by Trump, asking, however, to extend it to ballistic activity and destabilization at the regional level. This is what the Biden administration wants now.
The positions are finally aligned. It is one of the many signs of the new transatlantic relationship and of the role that France wants to play, emphasizing the link with Washington. After Joe Biden, Kamala Harris also chose Macron for the first phone call with an EU leader. “It is not a beauty contest between Macron, Merkel or Johnson” underlines the former French ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud. “Americans are pragmatic, they choose who they can work with to defend their interests.” From this point of view, adds the diplomat with a forty-year career, France is ahead of other European allies.
Macron tries to carve out a role as a privileged partner for the new US president as he had already tried with the Donald. This time, Macron has a better chance of succeeding. “There is a real window of opportunity,” observes Benjamin Haddad, director of the Europe Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington.
According to the expert, there are two factors for that: the political transition in Germany, with post-Merkel uncertainty, and Brexit that no longer allows the British to act as intermediaries between the US and the EU. Paris does not start from scratch. It has been able to build strong military cooperation in recent years.
From Syria to the Sahel, the Pentagon and the French Ministry of Defense work closely together. France invited a submarine and a warship to the South China Sea a few weeks ago for exercises with the Americans. “After Brexit, all that remains is France as a true military partner in the EU” notes former ambassador Araud, recalling that Paris is the only EU country with a nuclear weapon and a seat on the UN security council.
Peace trials are underway with Recep Tayyip Erdogan: the French leader and the Turkish president have started talking to each other again. “We do not dream that Biden will come to solve our problems in Syria, Libya, or Ukraine” commented former ambassador Araud. “What we are already seeing – he continues – is the return in strength of American diplomacy”. Heisbourg analyses the turning point in progress as follows: “Biden is not Trump but he is not Obama either. On both foreign policy and security, the new administration will be strategically more vigorous than the last two Presidents.”