Ffiteen billion dollars is a hefty sum of money, even in terms of international relations. That's the amount of money France has offered Iran to seduce the Ayatollah's regime to keep abiding by the 2015 nuclear deal.
The U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran before the 2015 deal was signed caused some serious damage to its economy. After Tehran signed the deal, its economy grew by 12.3% the following year. But this year, estimates predict 6% negative growth due to the new sanctions introduced by the U.S.
Oil production also increased from 2.3 million oil barrels a day to 3.8 million barrels after the deal was signed and with the resumption of sanctions, oil production is now down to its previous level.
Some countries received special permission from the U.S. to continue importing oil from Iran, but with the Americans now revoking their permission, the loss to the Iranian economy is estimated at $10 billion.
French President Emmanuel Macron is offering Tehran a lifeline – a meeting between the American and Iranian presidents and $15 billion in credit.
Macron's efforts are fascinating. What exactly are his motives? It's not clear even to the French themselves and the Iranians aren't very enthusiastic either. They need every dollar, but they have sent some contradictory signals in recent days.
Macron's offer has the same shortcomings the nuclear deal had. The superpowers were willing to pay almost any price to reach an agreement, and Iran got exactly what it wanted.
The problem with the deal wasn't just the restrictions on the production of nuclear weapons, but also Iran's regional influence.
Iran has, in effect, been given a green light to continue its two-front proxy rampage - through the Houthis in Yemen to the south, and through Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah to the north.
The French allure to Iran is mainly anti-Israel in nature, because it means that Tehran is given a further green light to establish itself on the northern axis. That means more military bases in Iraq and Syria, more aid for Hezbollah, more funding for Qasem Soleimani – the regime's commander of extraterritorial operations in the Revolutionary Guard.
It has become clear in the last three years that the Iranian leadership couldn't care less about the welfare of their people.
The financial benefits Iran received after the sanctions were lifted were all directed to the development of ballistic missiles and the evil forces of Soleimani and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
The French offer still depends on the approval of the Americans, but the White House is yet to respond, and it is worrying.
Israel should not encourage any form of conflict. The dilemma at hand isn't between conflict and agreement, and it also wasn't the case back in 2015.
The dilemma was, and still is, between an agreement and continued sanctions; the superpowers' demands should also include reducing Iran's regional interference. The Iranian threat will only grow without clear conditions.
Macron's conciliatory behavior threatens not only Israel. It has already added tens of thousands of casualties in the different conflicts in which Iran is involved, including Syria and Yemen.
We must prevent this French kiss of death.