During the recent round of nuclear talks between Iran and 5+1 group, France took a rogue stance and thus created an obstacle for reaching an agreement on Iranian nuclear issue. According to press reports that quoted French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, France has insisted that operations of a nuclear reactor at Arak be halted, and that current stockpiles of enriched uranium be reduced, while these were the kinds of measures that the other negotiators expected to ensue at future stages of the nuclear talks. It seems that France wants firm guarantees reflecting its considerations emanating from its posturing towards international affairs and the Middle East region. There have been many comments regarding the French position. The following are some of the important motivations behind the French current stance.

1-France is willing to show that it still plays a major role in the international arena and the power equations. This is rooted in its nostalgia for its glorious past as a colonial power in line with the notion of grandeur as formulated in Gaullism. Olivier de France, an expert on French politics, has recently said: “France has long sought to maintain this element of grandeur in French foreign policy, whereby France as a nation remains able to influence the course of world events, it’s a deep-seated penchant in France ".

2-France is seeking to preserve its exclusive membership in the "nuclear club" in the monopoly of existing nuclear powers. France feels that it would be essential for it to keep its advantage as a nuclear power in the international scene, if it wants to play a determining role in major decision-makings at the international level. For that reason, France finds it convenient to be regarded as a key player in defending the regime of non proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction.

3-France finds its regional ambitions in the Levant to be seriously challenged by Iran. This has especially become evident in Syria and Lebanon. Both of these countries are situated in a region that France considers it as its zone of influence. During recent years, there has been a rivalry between Iran and France in the region reflecting conflicting interests of the two countries. When Laurent Fabius, French foreign minister, expressed his views on Iran's likely participation in Geneva conference seeking to negotiate an end to Syria’s bloody civil war, he revealed this rivalry. He said that "Iran would need to accept the goal of the conference: the establishment by consensus of a transitional government that would not include President Bashar al-Assad. Iran would also need to understand that it would not be rewarded for any cooperation on Syria by being granted flexibility to pursue its nuclear program, another major issue between Iran and the West".

4-France has forged deep political and economic ties with the Persian Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE. It also aligned in a single front with these countries in dealing with crisis in Syria completely opposed to Iran's standing on this matter. In fact, France has entered into a network of regional alliances. Therefore, French position during the recent round of nuclear talks between Iran and 5+1 group can be the reflection of the concerns expressed by governments in the Persian Gulf over Iran's nuclear program.

5-It seems that France's closer relations with Israel which began during the presidency of Sarkozy in 2007 is still actively pursued in the French Quai d'Orsay, particularly given the fact that the Socialist party is much closer to and influenced by Jewish lobby. Laurent Fabius said in an interview with France Inter radio in Geneva that “It is necessary to take fully into account Israel’s security concerns and those of the region.”Along these lines, it should be noted that President Hollande is going to visit Israel this month.”

6-Any rapprochement between Iran and the United States would potentially deprive France of its political and economic opportunities regarding Iran. While the U.S. is shifting its attention away from the Middle East, France hopes to fill the vacuum and to play a more prominent role in the region. Also, Iran could be considered as an arena for economic competition between France and the U.S. in terms of trade and investments.    

Given the above facts, one should not be surprised of France's behavior in recent nuclear talks which would have some implications not only for its bilateral relations with Iran but for its status in the region. However, it seems that by taking a harsh stance at the 5+1 nuclear talks in Geneva, in fact, France is ignoring the implications that this position would have on its long term relations with Iran. French statesmen should realize that their approach towards the process of nuclear talks will remain in the historical memory of our nation with negative consequences for the future political and economic relations between the two countries. If France wants to have a place in the lucrative market of Iran with its huge potentialities or to count on Iran's strategic and geopolitical assets to solve the regional crises threatening its interests, it should change its existing policies.