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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

France is Happy to Have "Good Relations with the US"

France, the enemy of America who has spent the last number of years fighting the US on every foreign policy subject, and which boasts a criminal as President (Jackie Chirac, friend of Saddam Hussein), now says that relations between the US and the Frenchfries is at an all-time high, and they are happy.

Really? Let's hear what they have to say about the matter:

French diplomat says ties with U.S. are on the mend

Relations between France and the United States are back on track after years of tumult and should remain that way regardless of who wins the French presidential election this spring, Paris' envoy to Washington said yesterday.

Jean-David Levitte, who took over the French Embassy in December 2002 at a time of strained ties just before the Iraq war began, said he is a "happy ambassador" these days because the two countries have similar positions on most key issues.

"Today, our relationship is back on the right track," Mr. Levitte told editors and reporters at The Washington Times. "These are not only words; these are deeds."

His comments on Lebanon's political crisis, Syria's behavior, Iran's nuclear program and its larger role in the Middle East were almost identical to the Bush administration's positions.

That's incredible! Washington and Paris agree on things, including Iran's nuclear program, right? Wow!

If you read another story, things are not so "wow" as we first thought.

Europe Resists U.S. Push to Curb Iran Ties

European governments are resisting Bush administration demands that they curtail support for exports to Iran and that they block transactions and freeze assets of some Iranian companies, officials on both sides say. The resistance threatens to open a new rift between Europe and the United States over Iran.

Administration officials say a new American drive to reduce exports to Iran and cut off its financial transactions is intended to further isolate Iran commercially amid the first signs that global pressure has hurt Iran’s oil production and its economy. There are also reports of rising political dissent in Iran.

In December, Iran’s refusal to give up its nuclear program led the United Nations Security Council to impose economic sanctions. Iran’s rebuff is based on its contention that its nuclear program is civilian in nature, while the United States and other countries believe Iran plans to make weapons.

At issue now is how the resolution is to be carried out, with Europeans resisting American appeals for quick action, citing technical and political problems related to the heavy European economic ties to Iran and its oil industry.

“We are telling the Europeans that they need to go way beyond what they’ve done to maximize pressure on Iran,” said a senior administration official. “The European response on the economic side has been pretty weak.” The American demands and European responses were provided by 10 different officials, including both supporters and critics of the American approach.

One irony of the latest pressure, European and American officials say, is that on their own, many European banks have begun to cut back their transactions with Iran, partly because of a Treasury Department ban on using dollars in deals involving two leading Iranian banks.

American pressure on European governments, as opposed to banks, has been less successful, administration and European officials say.

The main targets are Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain, all with extensive business dealings with Iran, particularly in energy. Administration officials say, however, that Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the current head of the European Union, has been responsive.

Perhaps France is just full of shit, as usual.

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