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WASHINGTON – News of the election of Francois Hollande as the president of France is going to be welcome in Tehran, where the outgoing chief, Nicolas Sarkozy, widely was considered to be the most pro-Israeli French president in history, says a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Informed sources say that with the upcoming May 23 meeting in Baghdad to continue discussions on Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran is hoping for a more independent French position from that of the United States and the other so-called P5+1 members: China, Great Britain, Russia and the United States, plus Germany.

Sarkozy was regarded as being in lock-step with the U.S. in pressing for sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, which he and others in the West regard as being used to make nuclear weapons.

Relations between Paris and Tehran are at an all-time low, and they would have grown worse if Sarkozy had won re-election, sources say.

Analysts believe that if France pursues a more independent approach from the U.S., Tehran will believe the U.S. is more serious about reaching a diplomatic solution to the nuclear impasse that has been going on for years, instead of posing the threat of a military attack on its nuclear facilities.

“Because of Sarkozy’s lack of credibility with Tehran, France has less than zero power of persuasion with Iran’s leaders, who have time and again expressed their strong disapproval of Sarkozy’s policy choices toward the Middle East, not to mention his and his party’s behavior towards Muslims in France,” said Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, an expert on Iranian foreign policy and author of “After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran’s Foreign Policy.”

A Hollande victory, said a University of Tehran professor who wanted to remain anonymous, could have a “disproportionate impact in the Middle East by bringing about a more independent European political approach that could extend to Germany and Italy next year, given that both countries have elections next year. And that spells trouble for Israel as well as the U.S. and its trans-Atlantic alliance.”

Afrasiabi told Asia Times that compared with Sarkozy, “who was completely sold to the American-Israeli pattern of coercive policy vis-à-vis Iran, Hollande is apt to pursue a markedly different track that emphasizes dialogue and cooperation as an incentive for eradicating escalating tensions.”

“If this rubs off on the rest of Europe and Iran begins to sense healthy new politics dominating the European scene, then it will be more amenable to show flexibility on the nuclear front,” he said.

For Israel, however, continued discussions only buy Tehran more time to develop a nuclear weapon, which it believes is the goal of its nuclear development program.

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