Will France use its position as a permanent member of the Security Council and an important player in the talks on the Iranian nuclear conundrum to once again torpedo the proceedings?
The French position is being closely watched since the country has emerged as the champion within the P5+1 of the Israeli and Saudi hardline against Iran.
The first round of talks in Geneva failed after Paris introduced last-minute objections and changes to the draft. During Israel visit two days ago, President Francois Hollande said France had a few red lines of its own.
He said no agreement would be acceptable unless Iran met the following conditions: immediately placed all its nuclear installations under continuous international supervision; suspended uranium enrichment to 20 per cent; reduced its existing stockpile of enriched uranium and halted the construction of its heavy water reactor in Arak.
Saudi Arabia and Israel which now form a tight anti-Iran nucleus along with other Sunni Gulf nations, have found a ready champion in France.
Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had said the country would not budge an iota from its position.
French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud Belkacem said some of the the comments by Iran’s supreme leader about Israel were “unacceptable.”
She said the French Cabinet had discussed the Iran talks at its weekly meeting. The French position had not changed. “We are firm but not closed.”
Keywords: Iran nuclear talks