Did I hear ‘freedom fries’? – France says Iran is no Iraq

February 12, 2010
French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud briefs reporters at the United Nations in New York. UN photo

French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud briefs reporters at the United Nations in New York. UN photo

February 2003. Anti-French sentiment sweeps across the United States. President George W. Bush and his top aides can barely contain their irritation at the French government for undermining U.S.-led efforts to get the U.N. Security Council to authorize the impending invasion of Iraq. With the aid of Germany and Russia, France torpedoes the drive for a new resolution authorizing war. Frustration erupts into anger. Bottles of French wine and champagne are emptied into toilets and some restaurants rename French fries “freedom fries.”

The rest is history. The United States tells U.N. weapons inspectors to clear out of Iraq and launches an invasion in March 2003 to put an end to Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction programs. They topple Saddam’s government and execute the deposed Iraqi leader three years later. But U.S. and British intelligence claims that Saddam Hussein had revived his nuclear, iraqbiological and chemical weapons programs turn out to be false.

Seven years later. France and the U.S. are friends again and working on the same side to prevent Iraq’s neighbor, Iran, from developing nuclear weapons. (Interestingly, both France and the United States had supported Iraq during its bloody 1980-88 war with Iran.)

Some people shudder with deja vu at the mention of Iran’s nuclear program. For years, officials at the Vienna-based IAEA warned that the campaign against Iran was Iraq all over again. Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, often spoke of the need to avoid the mistakes of Iraq by not jumping to conclusions about Iran’s atomic program, which Tehran insists is a peaceful one that will produce only electricity, not bombs.

Speaking at New York’s Columbia University this week, France’s U.N. ambassador, Gerard Araud, made clear that Iran’s nuclear program couldn’t be more different from Iraq’s phantom weapons of mass destruction. The concerns about Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, he said, are shared across the globe. He pointed out that five Security Council resolutions — three of them imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic — had passed “without dissent” and that countries like Libya, South Africa, Russia and China had cast their votes in favor of them.

chirac“To be blunt, it’s not Iraq revisited,” he said. “It’s not the West, the North, against Iran. It’s the international community at large which is expressing its concerns.” Araud noted that four of the six countries leading efforts to persuade Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program had actively opposed the war in Iraq — France, Germany, Russia and China. Now they’re all in it together, offering Iran the prospect of economic and political incentives if it stops enriching and new sanctions if it continues to refuse.

French-U.S. cooperation on Iran is nothing new. Even while former French President Jacques Chirac and his chief diplomats were working hard to block the U.S.-British push for war in Iraq, French intelligence agents were quietly amassing evidence of covert Iranian nuclear activities and sharing it with their American counterparts. In May 2003, France presented its intelligence assessment of Iran to a closed-door meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an informal club of 46 countries that produce raw materials or technology useful in nuclear programs. “For several years intelligence sources have been collecting evidence of a covert military program (in Iran),” the French presentation said. “France’s assessment is now that this country may obtain a sufficient quantity of fissionable materials to manufacture a nuclear weapon within a few years.” The French presentation, it said, “was coordinated with the American one.”

These days France is considered the most hawkish of the four Western powers discussing a possible fourth round of U.N. sanctions on Iran. U.S. and French negotiators have circulated informal papers outlining possible new steps to their colleagues in Britain and Germany. The French paper, diplomats told Reuters, calls for harsh U.N. Security Council measures against Iran’s energy sector, which the French say is being used to finance Tehran’s nuclear and missile programs. The United States, afraid of angering Russia and China or undermining the robust opposition movement in Iran, is not actively pushing for limits on gasoline imports or similar measures. (Diplomats say that the French proposals will eventually be scrapped in order to secure yes votes from reluctant Russia and China, both of which have vetoes on the 15-nation Security Council, like the United States, Britain and France.)

Araud made clear that the French hawkishness is not an attempt to bully Iran or topple its government. “We are not in the regime change game,” he said, adding that their goal was not to spark a new war but to avert one. Failure to persuade Tehran to alter its nuclear policy, he suggested, might be disastrous. It could invite an Israeli military attack and further destabilize the already unstable Middle East.

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At last weekend’s inaugural Tea Party Convention, there was much bloviating about “oppressed” Americans “suffering” under the Obama Administration’s “tyranny.” Judge Roy More, former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, even delivered a rousing sermon comparing our President to King George III, the British ruler overthrown in the American Revolution.

Nothing better illustrates the utter absurdity of these delusions than contrasting the Tea Party with an actual, grassroots, democratic movement created to confront real, rather than imagined, tyranny: Iran’s Green Movement.

Armed with camera phones, laptops and an iron will, these courageous individuals communicate their message to the world even without the journalists imprisoned by Ahmadinejad’s repressive regime.

Moreover, while Americans generally use Facebook and Twitter to pour over the excruciating minutae of modern life, the Greens employ these social networking websites to disseminate information, plan operations and mobilize their organization.

Censorship, harassment, intimidation, coercion, mass arrests, public beatings and de-facto executions by government-sponsored death squads. These are the harsh realities of living under tyranny. If the Tea Party movement’s petulant populists want to witness its horrors first-hand, I implore them to purchase a one-way ticket to Tehran. I suspect they’ll be in for a rude awakening.

Read more @ http://armchairfirebrand.wordpress.com/

Posted by afirebrand | Report as abusive

Gog and Magog!

In the winter of 2003, when George Bush and Tony Blair were frantically gathering support for their planned invasion of Iraq, Bush told President Jacques Chirac that when he looked at the Middle East, he saw “Gog and Magog at work” and the biblical prophecies unfolding.

Bush believed the time had come for that battle, telling Chirac: “This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies (i.e. the Muslims!) before a New Age begins”.

Bush is not in office anymore so Sarkozy (the ex-MOSSAD agent and the son of a Zionist Rabbi) has taken the responsibility now.

Americans love the French now and “freedom fries” is called “French Fries” again! But will they be able to kill all the 1.6 billion Muslims of the world?
We will see.

Posted by Kiumars | Report as abusive

1.6 billion? No problem. A million at a time, Westerners are very comfortable with that – they had been going at it for centuries now, ganging up on weaker non-Caucasians all around teh globe. By now they are very experienced.

Posted by zhubajie | Report as abusive

This whole threat from Iran and it’s nuclear potential is hype.

Israel is apparent by the media blitz Israel is bound and determined to get the US to do to Iran what it did to Iraq.

Posted by XMarine | Report as abusive

Islam is rising up, Communism is re-emerging… the results are scary.

http://communislam.com/

Posted by servant119b | Report as abusive

France gave Israel the atom bomb, so it’s not the most objective country.

Posted by grope | Report as abusive

I can not understand from world leaders are still talking,giving press interviews and justifying of western powers actions on Iraq,invasion to Iraq,dismantled Saddam from power and related Saddam!s fatal end.
Now, America, Britain, France and some other western countries are talking about Iran!s nuclear capabilities, Iran!s elections results, and stressed the need of world inspections and halt of her enriched uranium and her nuclear processes for her energy needs and energy exports to some Asian nations.
Indirectly, Iran is getting some tactical supports from super powers-China and from Russia.
Now, France wants to increase her trade and commerce to Middle East countries, and some tie up with her neighbors ,have some good relations with Russia and China for enlarging their businesses.
France have its own free thinking and wants to act on a very tactical move.
As per domestic and international pressure, no developed nations wants to be always with their old allies for many things.
Each country has its own foreign policy with their country!s support,backing from her own class and so on.

Posted by mdspatsy | Report as abusive

When Sarkozy was ellected I remember my first impression was that he very pro American…

Posted by CatchingBombs | Report as abusive