The answer is probably “money.”
What looked like an impending “nuclear deal” between the US and its allies on one hand and Iran on the other was scuttled last week after France intervened:
One Western official said Paris hadn’t been particularly involved in the painstaking negotiations that had taken place in the run-up to this weekend’s talks in Geneva. “The French were barely involved in this,” one Western diplomat said. “They didn’t get looped in until a few days ago.”
Why? The answer, in two words, is “big business.” Or, in five words, “arms sales and tech subcontracting.”
Believe it or not, I started writing this post before discovering that Antiwar.com’s Jason Ditz had already caught the connection.
French aviation companies and arms contractors are looking for a business thaw with Israel (which went cold on them after the French accepted Saddam Hussein’s offer to build the doomed Osirak nuclear reactor in 1976). Just last month, French aircraft firm Dassault announced that an Israeli firm would be building a key system for its new Falcon 5X business jet.
In August, French companies Thales, DCNS and MBDA won a $1.4 billion defense maintenance contract with Saudi Arabia.
The Hollande government is obviously looking to expand its arms sales and take (or re-take) markets for those sales from the US. And an obvious way to go about that is to hit up Iran’s antagonists in the Middle East at a time when the US is annoying those antagonists (and pricing itself out of the lucrative combat jet market).
As Paul Harvey liked to say, now you know the rest of the story.