Obama 'Bullying' France To Accept His Iran Concessions

Jeffdunetz | March 27, 2015
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Apparently Israel is not the only U.S. ally having problems with the concessions being made to Iran to seal a nuclear deal.  The Washington Free Beacon is reporting the administration is working to silence criticism of its Iran negotiations even from allies participating in the talks.

According to the report some witnesses have described the American behavior as bullying:

A series of conversations between top American and French officials, including between President Obama and French President Francois Hollande, have seen Americans engage in behavior described as bullying by sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

The disagreement over France’s cautious position in regard to Iran threatens to erode U.S. relations with Paris, sources said.


Both Saudi Arabia and Israel have publicly complained about the deal and the administration has responded, "by engaging in public campaigns [which] analysts worry will endanger American interests."

Western policy analysts who spoke to the Free Beacon, including some with close ties to the French political establishment, were dismayed over what they saw as the White House’s willingness to sacrifice its relationship with Paris as talks with Iran reach their final stages.

A recent phone call between Obama and Hollande was reported as tense as the leaders disagreed over the White House’s accommodation of Iranian red lines.

Amid these tensions, U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley met with her French counterpart, Gerard Araud, Monday to discuss a range of issues.

According to a French foreign policy adviser Benjamin Haddad, " leaders in Paris have not been shy about" disagreeing with the Administration about elements of the deal. 

“The French want a deal, but they see no rush and repeat that Iranians need a deal more than we do, and that we shouldn’t fix artificial deadlines that put more pressure on us than Iran.”

One source in Europe close to the ongoing diplomacy said the United States has begun to adopt a “harsh” stance toward its allies in Paris.

“There have been very harsh expressions of displeasure by the Americans toward French officials for raising substantive concerns about key elements of what the White House and State Department negotiators are willing to concede to Iran,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “That is because the clarifications expose just how weak the Americans’ deal is shaping up to be.”

“The meeting between the French ambassador in Washington and the president’s envoy to Paris—not a diplomat but a big fundraiser for his campaigns—comes amid these very harsh words that were spoken privately about the ambassador’s recent comments on the seeming American desperation for a deal, and the tough words that President Obama had for President Hollande in their phone call.”

Strategic differences remain between the United States and its allies over how a final deal should look, the source said. The French remain opposed to a recent range of concessions made by the Obama administration.

According to the Free Beacon some sources worry that the President is sacrificing U.S. alliances for a political legacy.

“The President could be hammering out the best deal in the history of diplomacy, and it still wouldn’t be worth sacrificing our alliances with France, Israel, and Saudi Arabia—key partners in Europe, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Gulf,” the source said. “But he’s blowing up our alliances to secure a deal that paves Iran’s way to a bomb.”

This news comes atop an Associated Press report that the Administration may allow Iran to operate hundreds of centrifuges at their Fordo facility, which is in a reinforced bunker built inside a mountain.  According to those with knowledge of the negotiations, Iran would no longer be allowed to enrich uranium at the Fordo site.

Instead of uranium, which can be enriched to be the fissile core of a nuclear weapon, any centrifuges permitted at Fordo would be fed elements such as zinc, xenon or germanium for separating out isotopes used in medicine, industry or science, the officials said. The number of centrifuges would not be enough to produce the amount of uranium needed to produce a weapon within a year — the minimum time-frame that Washington and its negotiating partners demand.

The video below from the Wall Street Journal TV, discusses some of the issues surrounding the Fordo concessions.