In an article at Truthout, Gareth Porter explains how French objections that undermined the nuclear deal that the six power including the United States were offering Iran were in deference to Israel, with whom the French foreign ministry has been close since the administration of President Sarkozy. He then makes a subtle point.
From the beginning of the talks in October through last week’s negotiations, Iran had been proposing an agreement that would [lead to an] end game [which] for Iran meant the removal of all the sanctions against Iran in return for Iran’s acceptance of strict limits on its enrichment and the acceptance of much more intrusive monitoring by the IAEA.
… concerned US officials primarily was whether Iran could achieve a breakout to a bomb. … If Iran ended its 20 percent enrichment and systematically was eliminating its stockpile of uranium that could still be enriched to weapons-grade levels (90 percent), the Obama administration might feel that the urgency of the crisis had lessened.
On the other hand, the “end game” ― “Achieving the additional limits on Iran’s enrichment by removing the sanctions” ― “would be an exercise that certainly would provoke all-out conflict with Israel and with the Congress. Kerry made the point in his Abu Dhabi press conference Monday that “no agreement has been reached about the end game here.”
Kerry was trying to reassure Israel, its congressional supporters, and Gulf Arab states that Iran wasn’t close to winning its emancipation from sanctions. In other words, Washington didn’t want talks to be too successful. But
If the end game is at best an afterthought and, in the worst case, something to which Washington may have a political aversion, then Iran would be putting its own bargaining position in jeopardy by agreeing to US terms for the interim agreement.