How France’s Presidential Runoff Could Shape Iran Diplomacy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy may have once been caught in an unguarded moment telling President Barack Obama he couldn’t stand Benjamin Netanyahu and branding the Israeli leader “a liar,” but Netanyahu would nonetheless lose an important ally if Sarkozy is unable to reverse Sunday’s setback in his reelection bid. That’s because regardless of the personal chemistry between them, Netanyahu will be initimately aware that Sarkozy is widely regarded as the most Israel-friendly French president ever and is also Israel’s best bet among Western leaders for maintaining a hard line on Iran. Even if presidential frontrunner Francois Hollande is unlikely, if elected, to change France’s formal position on Iran, the Socialist Party candidate is also highly unlikely to reprise Sarkozy’s hyperactive and reliably hawkish hectoring of Washington and his European neighbors to escalate pressure on Iran—and to resist compromises with Tehran on the issue of uranium enrichment


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