I think I've said it before, but in case I haven't: I'm very pleased that France has a leader with at least some reason about him. The West needs to be together against Islamic fundamentalism, and having France with us once again--at least against Iran--is a positive.
Here's a story in the Asian Times that makes a few interesting points. Although American diplomacy with Iran has been lacking, the story says, we've done a good job of bringing the West together. While I agree with the former statement, I'm sure my position would be the polar opposite: I don't believe we should have any "diplomacy" with Iran, any more than we should have had "diplomacy" with Japan on December 8, 1941.
The latter statement, though, might be of most importance. Again, at least with France, the West seems to be coming together. Some quotes:
Only a week earlier, Sarkozy brought French policy into alignment with the United States, warning, "Iran with a nuclear weapon is not acceptable to me. I want to underline France's total determination on the current plan linked to increasing sanctions, but also being open to talks if Iran chooses to respect its obligations. This initiative is the only one that can allow us to escape an alternative that I can only call catastrophic: an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran."
That's a bold statement for France to make: "...I can only call catastrophic: an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran." That's important: it's necessary for some other Western nation to assert that Iran will be bombed before it's allowed to make a nuclear weapon.
Then, about the West:
America's miserable performance in Iraq should not obscure the success of Washington's efforts to align the West against Tehran. Sarkozy has shifted French policy in a way that leaves Iran no wiggle room. Although Berlin has been very quiet in recent months, Rafsanjani's main ties to the West run through Germany, and it can be assumed that US President George W Bush is working closely with Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as with Sarkozy.
It seems quite probable that the prospect of a West united in its resolve to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, and resigned to enforcing this by military means, shifted the balance within Iran's clerical assembly to the former president. To be sure, Rafsanjani's return to a position of influence, if not yet power, embarrasses Ahmadinejad but does not yet restrain him.
It's an interesting story, and worth a read.