There are different versions, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has not yielded on the one hand or missed the opportunity on the other hand after revelations that said French President Emmanuel Macron deployed much energy to establish direct contact between Rouhani and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.
The scene took place on September 24, 2019 in New York where Macron, between two meetings with Rouhani and three others with Trump, set up a direct and secure phone line between the Millenium hotel and the Lotte hotel where the two Presidents stayed respectively.
The mission? Make the Iranian and U.S. leaders talk to each other and renew contact after the Trump administration denounced in May 2018 the Iran Nuclear Deal signed in July 2015 and that tensions have been mounting since then. Iran’s seizing of several oil tankers this summer, followed by the allegedly Iranian drone bombing of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil company, Aramco, plant on September 14, 2019, reinforced Emmanuel Macron’s willingness to act as the middleman.
Against the backdrop, diplomatic and foreign intelligence circles have assessed as “potentially imminent” the risk of a war between the United States and Iran, reminding the credibility of such a hypothesis after Trump finally canceled a military strike on several Iranian targets in the night on June 20-21, 2019.
An analysis that got stronger following the apparent inability of the Saudis to defend their strategic installations despite the advanced weapons hard-earned from Westerners, foremost among them the Americans and the French, and “to such an extent” that it seems to have caused some surprise. Roughly speaking, if Riyadh cannot operate a valid deterrence if not military response to Tehran, it logically requires Washington to intervene and this can start an armed confrontation with potentially unpredictable as well as disastrous consequences.
It all depends on how seriously Donald Trump responds, considering that in Washington many believe that the weakness of the response given so far encourages Tehran to increase the intensity of its actions. In Paris, where the Sunni countries are considered to be of strategic military and trade interest for France, active and direct diplomacy at the highest level of States is the only valid approach in such a context of “very high tension.”