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France plays hawk role in nuclear talks with Iran

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (R) listens as US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a joint press conference on March 7, 2015 in ParisAs the drive to reach an accord with Iran on its nuclear programme heads towards a March 31 deadline, France is digging into its role as chief hawk — a position inclined to annoy US allies, but not likely to scuttle an eventual accord, diplomats say. The French hard-line among its US, British, Chinese, Russian and German partners to hammer out a nuclear agreement with Tehran is rooted in ideological, historical, and even personal concerns that tend to stiffen as Paris recognises Washington’s increasing pragmatism in seeking to conclude a deal swiftly. “France has taken the opposite path to that of the United States, which changed strategies with the arrival of Barack Obama,” said Bernard Hourcade, an Iran specialist at the National Centre of Scientific Research, who says France’s current Socialist-led government adopted and defends the wary, intransigent stance towards Iran set down by previous conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy.

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