France, not Iran or America, proved to be the stumbling block in an agreement that was designed to slow down Iran's march towards a nuclear weapons capability. The irony here is that France was the nation that helped build Iraq's nuclear reactor that was destroyed by Israel in June 1981.
Possibly learning from its past, France feels the agreement doesn't go far enough to prevent Iran from building atom bombs. The talks will resume again, at a lower level, 20 November...but whatever the outcome at least two nations will not be happy.
The agreement the US, Britain, France, Russia and China were close to signing was being ridiculed and rejected by Israel. This isn't unusual since Israel, not the signatories, is under direct threat from Iran.
What is unique is a strange "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" alliance forming between the Jewish state and hard-line Wahabist Saudi Arabia.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his country will do what it must to defend itself including military action. That prospect would be welcomed by the Saudis, who you may remember from the WikiLeaks revelations, had hoped the US would bomb Iran. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cables-saudis-iran
Both countries are targets of Iran and both of these targets feel the Obama Administration has gone soft on its promise to remain tough on Iran. Indeed, Obama's second term has revealed not only a President in a grid-lock with Congress, but also one that seems big on talk and slow on action, whether it be foreign or domestic issues.
I personally find it hard to believe that the Washington power brokers don't realize if Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons it will do just that, despite sanctions. If poverty stricken Pakistan can do it, oil rich Iran surely can.
The only ways to stop Iran would be direct military action, popular revolution or bringing back the Shah, none of which appear to be in the cards.
But, as I wrote in a previous blog, Iran may or may not even successfully develop such weapons. We may never know for sure, even though there are now ways to detect nukes. I feel they will adopt a similar ambivalent stance as taken by Israel for decades. It's the threat of possibly having such weapons that carries the fear.
However, this almost Chamberlain-esque performance by America, as the once bold Obama eats his words, first on action in Syria and now Iran's nuke production, is forcing the Saudis to think nuclear, as well. After all, they too have plenty of oil loot to spend on weapons. There have been' reports they may try to buy some nukes from Pakistan, a nation in need of hard currency and in-love with their spiritual homeland.
Yet, here's a not-so far out possibility. Israel, if it comes down to Saudi Arabia going nuclear, may attempt to enact a low key defense treaty with the Saudis, even supplying and manning Nukes for the kingdom.
The real-politik of the region is that Israel has never posed a threat to Islam or Arab nationalism. It's the possible spread of democracy from Israel that Arab leaders have long feared. Shiite Iran, on the other hand, sees itself as leader of the mainly Sunni Islamic world and wants to take that honour away from the Saudis. Israel now seems a much lesser of two evils to the Saudi Royal Family...one that could help them curb Iran's ambitions.