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September 22, 2007
France and US See Eye to Eye on Iran Sanctions
Times have certainly changed. France and the United States have agreed in general to pressure Iran to give up its nuclear enrichment program through the use of harsher UN sanctions
"I think that there's, essentially, no difference in the way that we see the situation in Iran and what the international community must do," Rice told reporters. The whole atmosphere in US-French relations has been altered seemingly overnight with the election of President Sarkozy in France. Where former President Chiraq blew hot and cold on sanctions against Iran, Sarkozy seems committed to get the harshest sanctions possible when the Security Council meets sometime in the next few weeks.
The two countries were doing groundwork for a new UN Security Council resolution at a meeting in Washington on Friday of political directors from six major nations that have been trying to negotiate with Iran — Russia, China, Britain and Germany, as well as France and the United States.
Some of the alternatives for sanctions include freezing the assets of individuals as well as restricting travel of Iranian leaders. At the moment. this would seem to be the maximum that most members of the SC would agree to. Germany has expressed its disapproval of anything more stringent and you can be sure that both Russia and China - two of Iran's best customers - would also block any effort to effect more stringent penalties on the mullahs.
But with France and most of the EU on board, this kind of cooperation bodes very well for the future. In the end, Russia does more business with Europe than it does with Iran. And China no more wants Tehran to get its hands on nukes than anyone else, fearing instability in the region would hurt their economy.
These additional sanctions on Iran will not stop their nuclear program. But they certainly represent one more turn of the screw on the mullahs who are worried about an escalation of sanctions that would seriously damage their already fragile economy.