Last week, France found itself being cast as the villain responsible for allegedly sabotaging nuclear talk with Iran. At the time it seemed as if Paris didn’t have even one media defender in this context.
Since then, the opinion sheet has balanced out.
Take Al-Monitor’s Meir Javedanfar, for instance. In his view, any deal should be aimed at building confidence between Iran and the West, and the Arak heavy water reactor – which could produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb – inspires little confidence. Rather, it “creates the impression that Iran is interested in maintaining the option of making a bomb, if and when it decides to do so” – even “while the talks are taking place.”
Gideon Rachman of The Financial Times also praised France for playing its cards right: France merely “played ‘bad cop’ to the Obama administration’s ‘good cop,’” increasing the likelihood of a deal capable of preventing an Iranian bomb.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post said the delay caused by France’s intervention was “fortunate,” affording the Obama administration time to ensure “that whatever terms it puts forward … have broad support in Washington and among US allies.”
The Wall Street Journal took a similar stand, crediting “French foreign-policy exceptionalism” for saving the West “from a deal that would all but guarantee that Iran becomes a nuclear power.” According to the paper, Paris had saved Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron from an “historic security blunder.” In a similar vein, the LA times praised France for acting as guardian of the NPT and its “much battered norms.”
It’s nice to see the media make some progress from the initial knee-jerk reaction against France; actually, more outlets should have joined in. After all, nothing in life is black and white – and certainly not the Iranian nuclear crisis.