The US has many problems at their hands right now. Some of these problems just happened, emerged over time while some of them are entirely self-inflicted. Amongst the self-inflicted wounds is the fact that the US is no longer a reliable or trustworthy party.
The US has made its deal with Iran. But will they stick to it?
Given the fulminations against Iran and the so-called 'bad deal' coming out of the mouths of congresscritters, US presidential aspirants and given their craven sucking up to Bibi Netanyahu, a declared enemy of the aforementioned agreement, the French have reason to question US reliability.
"Western firms have sought to renew commercial ties with Tehran in light of the deal, but last month Washington cautioned against rushing to invest in Iran until it fully complies.
French firms, once very active in Iran, were among those to have faced heavy penalties for violating sanctions.
"The attitude of the Americans is cooperative, but now we want that to be turned into something concrete so that the same thing doesn't happen again," Fabius told lawmakers ahead of next week's visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to France.
BNP Paribas was fined almost $9 billion in 2014 for transactions violating U.S. embargoes. This week, Deutsche Bank paid a $258 million penalty to settle charges that it did business on behalf of entities in U.S.-sanctioned countries like Iran and Syria.
Immediately after the nuclear deal U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had pledged that the U.S. authorities would ensure European firms would not be subject to penalties once sanctions had lifted.
But diplomats and executives say firms also want guarantees from the United States that they would be safe if sanctions were re-imposed. Without such assurances, businesses would remain prudent before committing themselves, they said."
To wit: Paribas was fined in the US for transactions that neither violated French law, nor European law nor international law but unilateral US sanctions law. Every action took place outside the US, by outside actors. The US claimed jurisdiction pretty much because a digital dollar of the transaction touched a US computer for a virtual second. Such arbitrary imposition of fines is a risk that all multinationals doing business with Iran face.
Obama wants the agreement with Iran, but will he be able to have it move forward in light of the hostility in Congress and from the pro-Israel quarters? There isn't much cause to expect reason in that quarter. And what will happen after Obama?
In light of these imponderables the French prudently want US guarantees, in writing, that the US won't prey on go after French companies for violating re-imposed or new US sanctions, just because whoever may succeed Obama happened to change his mind and reset to the US default mode - regime change, or - an unlikelier case, but in fairness - should the Iranians renege on their part of the deal.
The US today find themselves in a situation where they have a record of arbitrariness, incoherence and of reneging on commitments they made. That is not a legitimate hegemonic entitlement but a liability, and should be understood as such.