Didn’t take long to drop some “we’re still working on this” language, did it?

The Obama Administration may have played their high-profile troubles over the pending Iran nuclear deal as a grudge match between the U.S. and Israel, but the Israelis aren’t the only ones with questions about the President’s “all or nothing” deal.

France has a history of raising questions about how far the international community is and has been willing to go to gain concessions from Iran regarding its nuclear program. Recently, the French have publicly raised concerns that commitments made by Iran don’t go far enough to ensure that any future nuclear program will make allowances for a system of inspections and verifications ensuring that the program is compliant with international standards.

Secretary of State John Kerry has been busy over the weekend running damage control over France’s most recent objections. Via Reuters:

“We are on the same page,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters after talks with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris. “If we didn’t think that there was further to go, as Laurent said, we’d have had an agreement already,” Kerry added.

“The reason we don’t have an agreement is we believe there are gaps that have to be closed, there are things that have to be done to further strengthen this; we know this.”

The goal of the talks is to persuade Iran to restrain its nuclear program. In exchange, Iran would get limited relief from sanctions that have crippled its economy. EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, says the next two weeks will be crucial: “In the coming few days, there will be intense work from all sides to bridge the gaps that are still remaining and to make sure that this historic opportunity is not missed.”


Of chief concern for the French are the number and quality of centrifuges Iran will be allowed to operate after a deal is implemented, and the ability of the international community to police the program. This is a concern I heard echoed by multiple people during my time at AIPAC. After talking to attendees, I got the sense that, by and large, the concerns of most with ties to Israel have less to do with an immediate threat and more to do with Iran being able to cobble together the infrastructure necessary to pose a legitimate nuclear threat.

France holds veto power on the UN Security Council, which means that Kerry will have to throw a lot more on the table than the garbage the Administration slung before, during, and in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress.

Hopefully, Kerry will wake up and realize that there’s more to managing an international crisis than keeping the headlines in check.