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July 31, 2015 1:31 pm

Report: Top French Official Wants Congress to Vote Down Iran Deal

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U.S. President Barack Obama (left) and French President François Hollande. France has retained skepticism regarding the current Iran negotiating process Photo: Pete Souza/White House photo.

U.S. President Barack Obama (left) and French President François Hollande. Photo: Pete Souza/White House photo.

A senior diplomatic adviser to French President Francois Hollande told U.S. lawmakers that if congress votes to override the president’s veto of a bill rejecting the Iran deal, thus killing U.S. participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it would strengthen western negotiators’ hands and perhaps lead to greater concessions by Iran over its nuclear program, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

The attitude seems to counter the official French position, as French Ambassador to the U.S. Gerard Araud has been pushing lawmakers in Washington to support the deal.

The comments were attributed to Jacques Audibert, a diplomatic adviser to Hollande and former director general for political affairs at the French Foreign Ministry, from a meeting he held with U.S. representatives Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Mike Turner (R-OH) apparently to discuss the Iran deal. The French embassy “formally” denied the content of these remarks, which was related to Bloomberg by both of these lawmakers.

“He basically said, if Congress votes this down, there will be some saber-rattling and some chaos for a year or two, but in the end nothing will change and Iran will come back to the table to negotiate again and that would be to our advantage,” Sanchez told Bloomberg. “He thought if the Congress voted it down, that we could get a better deal.”

Many opponents of the Iran deal in its current iteration as the JCPoA believe a better deal could be struck if sanctions remain in place, therefore returning to Western negotiators the upper hand, though supporters of the deal contend a congressional override of Obama’s veto to uphold the deal would isolate the U.S. diplomatically while causing the international sanctions regime to collapse.

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