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French-Iranian Relations: Between Ideological Confrontation and Realpolitik


Since the end of the period between 2003 and 2005, European and French foreign policy towards Iran have followed the US lead under both Republican and Democratic administrations. The myth of European-led nuclear negotiations with Iran, conducted without interruption from 2003 to 2015, is to a significant extent the product of a rewriting of history by diplomatic actors from the Quai d’Orsay. In constructing this myth, their objective is to downplay the hardline stance taken by France on the Iranian nuclear issue before the conclusion of the Iran deal in 2015.1 It is true that the European “E3” – France, Germany, and the UK – played a major diplomatic role between 2003 and 2005 at the initial stage of the internationalization of the Iranian nuclear issue. Nevertheless, the Western strategic line has always been defined by Washington, despite a nominally independent European diplomatic initiative and a European-led administrative framework. Indeed, for reasons related to the lack of European economic sovereignty and the refusal of Europeans to really implement a policy of independence from Washington on this issue, the 2005-2007 period is marked by the end of a European alternative for a resolution of the Iranian nuclear dossier throughout a Brussels-led diplomatic process.
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hal-03385493 , version 1 (19-10-2021)



Clément Therme. French-Iranian Relations: Between Ideological Confrontation and Realpolitik. Iran and the International Arena: Challenges and Opportunities, Institute for National Security Studies (INSS); Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, pp.45 - 50, 2021, 9789659285822. ⟨hal-03385493⟩
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