French- Iranian Relations: A New Realistic Perspective

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Pirooz Izadi
30 June 2012


Relations between Iran and France have undergone many ups and downs during the past three decades. However, these relations have been on a downward spiral during the past several years. It seems that factors such as recent developments in the Middle East, Iran’s nuclear dossier and the two countries’ divergent approaches to foreign policy are responsible for this new situation. This article tries to answer the question of why relations between the two countries have reached their lowest point. The author uses the concepts developed in the framework of neo-realist theories emphasizing the necessity of preventing the rise of regional hegemonic powers to argue that France’s concerns about Iran’s increasing influence in the region, their conflict of interests at the regional level, and Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear technology - which contributes to the enhancement of its influence and can escalate their conflict to the international level - constitute the most important reasons for the unfriendly relations between the two countries.

Keywords: France, Iran, Iran’s nuclear dossier, Middle East, Persian Gulf, regional hegemony, balancing