By Ramin Mazaheri
The re-election of Emmanuel Macron is being celebrated by Brussels, high finance and his “bourgeois bloc” of core French supporters, but Macron’s record shows that Muslims and Muslim nations anticipate little reason to celebrate.
After Macron’s victory the Iranian foreign ministry called for face-to-face talks to resume on the JCPOA pact on Iran’s nuclear energy program "as soon as possible". The talks were paused on March 11 due to the unrest in Ukraine, but Iranians would be mistaken to imagine that a second term of Macron will lead to less Western-dominated policies from him.
Just to show how far Macron is willing to go in order to defend the interests of Brussels and Washington, simply look at his position on Russia: He is completely on board with years of sanctions on Moscow no matter how badly they bankrupt the average French individual, household or business. His stance is designed to benefit supranational interests, not French ones.
In a race which was a dead heat two weeks ago Macron’s stance seemed like electoral suicide. Marine Le Pen took the opposite tack - she insisted that Russia sanctions not encompass energy imports nor negatively impact the average French voter.
It was even revealed just several days before the second round vote that Brussels was waiting for the French election to finish in order to announce a total ban on Russian energy imports. Mere days before the runoff France’s Foreign Minister was forced to admit that Macron was indeed in favor of such a ban. There was no hiding it: if French voters were voting with their pocketbooks Macron was going to cost them, and for years.
Macron was truly willing to lose his re-election in order to put Western globalist interests in front of France’s well-being.
However, in between the first and second rounds of voting any criticism of Macron’s policies or record in office was pathetically shouted down as “support for fascism”. Macron won a 58-42 victory, though the total masks the same problem as his 66-34 win in 2017: the obviously lack of a clear mandate for his proposals.
So if Macron is not going to stand up for France as regards to Russia, why would he do so for Iran?
His record on the JCPOA is already clear: five years of stalling, refusal to go against Washington and the clear failure to uphold France’s side of the deal.
Now that he’s re-elected the man who inspired the phrase “liberal strongman” will feel bolder, stronger and more willing to violently forge a tighter-knit Europe, not less willing. Untethered from re-election concerns the rabid Europhile Macron now has even less incentive to look out for the average person’s well-being. So no matter how much ending the sanction war on Iran would benefit France it must be understood that this is simply not a major factor in Macron’s political calculations.
Iran is forced to rely a lot on the French president to influence the West. Macron’s role has been to play the “good cop” to the “bad cop” of Washington and London, who are unable to conceal their anger for Iranian Islamic revolutionaries. Berlin silently holds its purse while Brussels insists that their pragmatic politicians are always just on the cusp of finding a solution to all things - of course they never have. The other JCPOA signatories - China and Russia - are not the problem to finding diplomatic solutions, of course.
Like with Donald Trump, nobody is really sure what Marine Le Pen would actually do if she ever took office, but at least there was hope that there could, maybe, possibly, perhaps be a voice in Paris for sovereign rights and mutually-beneficial cooperation. But the idea that Macron is going to turn into Charles De Gaulle and stand up to Washington and London is worse than wishful thinking. It’s definitely not based on his record, ideology or stated desires.
So don’t be surprised if Macron starts his second term with strong demands on Tehran.
The question is: how long will Iran put up with even more waiting for the West to fulfil their side of the JCPOA? Macron probably doesn’t realise that patience across all of Iran wore out at the end of February. If Macron thinks he can engage in his usual ineffectual diplomacy for another year before he has to get serious, he’d be quite wrong - Iran’s patience with the JCPOA is at an end.
Unlike with the US in 2020 there was no change in power so there’s no justifiable reason for any delays. Macron better get to Vienna immediately or his record thus far on the JCOPA will become etched in stone: failure.
Macron has been the most pro-Zionist French president in recent memory. He passed a bill which falsely and shamefully equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, something which epitomises the lack of intellectual rigour and duplicity in Macronian politics. The former Rothschild banker has been routinely described as out of his depth in international affairs, and he has always relied on more experienced advisors. He shuttles diplomatically because that’s the longtime role of Paris in Western international affairs - Macron, who married his high school drama teacher, is playing his assigned role.
Domestically, Macron has done things which Marine Le Pen would simply have never gotten away with. A stunning (but rarely reported) fact is that Macron’s government ministers openly criticised Le Pen for being “soft on Islam”. That was from the right-wing of Macron’s government - the less reactionary members of his cabinet regularly railed against the alleged perils of “Islamo-leftism”. Macron is against any leftism, of course.
Macron immediately took Francois Hollande’s multiyear state of emergency and legalised it, with Muslims the clear targets.
How did that affect Islamophobia in France? I can’t tell you, because in 2020 Macron forced the French Collective Against Islamophobia, an essential NGO for the nation, into exile in Belgium.
His so-called “anti-separatist law” of 2021 tried to ban the hijab for minors, and yet Macron hypocritically scored international points by opposing Le Pen’s proposed (and unenforceable) ban on the hijab in public spaces. I argue (and not at all to defend a Marine Le Pen who has gotten even worse than in 2017) that Le Pen had to go to these absurd lengths simply to appear as the more anti-Islam candidate opposite the extremely Islamophobic Emmanuel Macron.
But this is the first week of Macron’s second term - if we can’t be optimistic now, when can we be?
Russia, domestic Islamophobia and everything else aside: Macron needs to know that Iran is not waiting hardly any longer for positive and concrete steps on on the JCPOA. Tehran is close to making the decision for everyone.