France-Iran-USA: Cooperation and Confrontation

by Hichem Karoui          


Policy Analysis Paper (N. 02) December 2017- January 2018


  • Introduction
  • Shaking Hands Is Not Innocent!
  • The French in the Bazar
  • Rohani in Paris
  • Defense Business
  • France’s Diplomacy Vs Trump’s Heavy Hand
  • How Iran Made Trump More Credible
  • Controversial Issues in the US NSS
  • Edge of War Strategy
  • More Controversial Issues
  • Questions and Conclusions


The French are no fans of the Mullah regime; but they care about business, economic growth, and employment for those who feel left aside. Economic efficiency is always the biggest test for any elected body in France, whether at the local level (régions) or the national. Governments are appointed to serve the country, according to the program of the candidate who has earned enough support from the people to be elected. Such is the case of Mr. Emmanuel Macron, since 14 May 2017.

The French president inherited a situation that was not very brilliant on the domestic level. In Foreign policy, the country was a little hustled by the events in the Middle East and North Africa since 2011. Following a very uncertain policy led by Nicolas Sarkozy, the socialist Francois Hollande ended up with the worst record of unpopularity ever reached by a French president. 

France has been one of the five powers (+ Germany) who led the negotiations with Iran that resulted in July 2015 in the signing of the Comprehensive Plan of Action(JCPOA). The lifting of sanctions that has come as part of the JCPOA package gave the French companies an opportunity for advancing their pawns in Iran. As they started working towards that end, Donald Trump decided not to certify the JCPOA, which raised questions in Europe and elsewhere about its sustainability. That also was a subject of disagreement between the Europeans (+ China and Russia) and the US administration. Not the first if we recall the clash of views that put Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump at loggerheads over the climate issue: i.e., the famous Paris agreement to which many nations of the world have consented, though. In such an atmosphere of suspicion, the announcement in Paris of a visit of the French president to Tehran may be viewed as a response to Trump, although at the Quai d’Orsay, it is seen as a scheduled courtesy in response to the Iranian president’s visit to France last January.

The new US National Security Strategy (NSS) formalized some of Trump’s most controverted positions in Europe, and stressed more the points of divergence between the allies while not stressing enough the points of convergence.

The following paper explores the diverse ways that could eventually block a positive dialogue across the Atlantic and thus constitute a serious obstacle to a joint-system of defense, in case the need becomes urgent for an operatory strategy in the Arab Gulf, against the main challenges threatening the power balance and the stability of the region. The focus is given here essentially to examining the trilateral connection: France-Iran-USA.

Click the link to read or download the full paper from GFC



















Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *