When it comes to the Iran negotiations, the Administration isn’t afraid to bring pressure to bear where it counts—on our allies. According to The Washington Free Beacon, France is the latest target:
Efforts by the Obama administration to stem criticism of its diplomacy with Iran have included threats to nations involved in the talks, including U.S. allies, according to Western sources familiar with White House efforts to quell fears it will permit Iran to retain aspects of its nuclear weapons program.A series of conversations between top American and French officials, including between President Obama and French President Francois Hollande, have seen Americans engage in behavior described as bullying by sources who spoke to the WashingtonFree Beacon.
Until this report is confirmed by other sources, it might be wise to treat such an explosive charge with a bit of skepticism. However, Via Meadia‘s own sources confirm that the French are “appalled” by the current U.S. negotiating stance.They aren’t the only ones, either. As we’ve been saying lately, very few people in the U.S. foreign policy establishment who don’t still work for the Administration have been willing to endorse the current state of play on Iran; the same goes for America’s allies.The aversion extends to such lukewarm allies as Turkey, where Recep Tayyip Erdogan came out yesterday against recent Iranian aggression. Reuters reported that:
Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday that Iran has been trying to dominate the Middle East and its efforts have begun annoying Ankara, as well as Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab countries.“It is really not possible to tolerate this. Iran has to understand,” Erdoğan told a press conference, adding that Tehran should withdraw any forces it has in Yemen as well as Syria and Iraq, and respect the territorial integrity of these countries.
As Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies pointed out on Twitter, this represents a major reversal: as recently as 2013, Erdogan was not only voicing sympathy for Iran, but actively helping the mullahs evade sanctions. (Schanzer also quotes one of the best Yiddish proverbs we’ve heard in some time: “With one tuchus you can’t dance at two weddings.”)During Obama’s first term, Erdogan was famously the Muslim leader whom the President called the most. Perhaps now would be a good time to pick up the phone again.Because it’s increasingly clear that the President could call Erdogan—he could call France—he could call quite a number of foreign policy thinkers in DC—and get the same warning. Will he listen?