Macron, America and Iran: Searching for a middle way

Macron's strategy of presenting France as a bridge between the US and Iran could face three main hurdles.

Emmanuel Macron campaign posters. Credit: Flickr/Lorie ShaullBy Clement Therme, Research Fellow for Iran

French President Emmanuel Macron is considering a visit to Tehran in early 2018. Macron would be the first French President to visit Iran since Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1976, and given the tensions between Washington and Europe over the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the implications of such a visit could be profound.

The French argue that there is a risk that Washington's confrontational approach will weaken the Iranian President while strengthening the conservatives. Without credible alternatives to the JCPOA, they say, the preservation of the status quo is preferable to creating a vacuum that favours the most ideological factions inside the Iranian political system.

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