Chirac and Iran – Nothin’ New

I hate to contradict Scott Gearity, whose Export Control Blog is really sweet, but I have to disagree with “his take”: on “this Haaretz piece”:

According to the article:

French President Jacques Chirac has told Haaretz that if European negotiations with Iran fail to eliminate the threat of nuclear proliferation, then the issue will have to be moved to the UN Security Council.

Chirac’s statements regarding the possibility of imposing sanctions on Iran, which, according to observers, is the first time he has taken such a firm position in the matter, came in an interview with Haaretz on the eve of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s state visit to France Wednesday.

“I hope that [the European negotiations with Iran] will succeed and eliminate the danger of the proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Chirac said. “If this does not prove to be the case, it will, of course, be necessary to transfer the handling [of the Iranian problem] to the UN Security Council.”

Scott suggests that Chirac’s statement “could be significant in light of the ongoing EU3 negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program,” adding that

bq. … threatening to haul Iran before the Security Council isn’t the same thing as actually doing it, but for people who think that Americans and Europeans must work together on Iran to achieve a satisfactory outcome, Chirac’s comments should be welcome.

Chirac, however, wasn’t describing a new position. In a March letter to Solana, the EU3 “said”: that “we shall have no choice but to support referring Iran’s nuclear programme to the UN Security Council” if Tehran doesn’t play ball.

Moreover, that letter was just a more explicit statement of the “EU3’s previous policy”:

Agreed that it’s good to see Chirac standing firm on this issue, but I sometimes think that the press is a bit fixated on this “EU3=wuss” trope.

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