Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Iran and the Revolution of the Grandchildren

French President Emmanuel Macron called the protests in Iran a “revolution,” adding that the regime’s clampdown makes reviving the nuclear deal less likely. He also declared his support for sanctions against Iranian officials for their role in repressing the protests.

In an interview with "Radio France Inter," he described what is happening as “unprecedented.” “The grandchildren of the revolution are making a revolution,” he added. He also met with four female activists recently.

France’s position on Iran deserves our attention and scrutiny. Is it a strategic shift? Or are these statements intended to exert pressure on Iran? And what can France do to help this “revolution?”

Is there a plan B in case the nuclear deal talks fail?

Paris is among the countries most keen on reviving the nuclear deal with Iran. It is true that the Biden administration was “trotting” towards reviving it before the Midterms. however, France and the EU were the most lenient in their proposals.

The Midterms are now behind us, and the Democrats are in a better position than had been envisioned. It remains unclear whether the American administration will pursue a revival of the agreement, especially since the Midterms demonstrated deep polarization on this issue.

Nevertheless, the stance taken by the French president on Iran, with him having said that “the grandchildren of the revolution are making a revolution,” is an escalation. The US has yet to escalate to this degree.

Thus, Macron’s statements mean that French Iranian relations have now taken a different dimension. It is unclear whether the Iranian regime will realize the gravity of these French statements and make concessions on two fronts:

The first question is whether they will now rush to revive the nuclear deal or show greater flexibility, i.e., make concessions. The other question is whether they will top their violence and butchery against the Iranian people. I doubt that the regime can make such concessions now, as they would shake its control.

The fact is the Iranian regime has put itself in a tight spot. It has done this to itself, as the regime’s hardline makeup has made the way it conducts foreign relations irrational and unpragmatic. This is especially clear in how they have dealt with the protests domestically and in their approach to reviving the nuclear deal.

Everything that has happened shows that the regime is its own worst enemy. It cannot be reformed or changed. It cannot understand domestic needs. That is why the French president’s remarks are noteworthy, and it is unclear whether they have a clear framework for how to deal with Iran behind them. Calling the events in Iran a “revolution” demands international recognition, greater pressure on the regime, and genuine support for this “revolution.” That implies explicit hostility to the terrorist regime that has not hesitated to commit crimes against its people.

Considering what is happening in Iran to be a “revolution” makes reviving the nuclear deal more complicated. With Benjamin Netanyahu returning to power, it means we will see an escalation. The critical question is: How will the Biden administration deal with all of this?