Today’s Olympic loss wasn’t the first time Europeans didn’t just melt in the hands of President Obama. Last week at the United Nations, French President Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Brown had a major row with President Obama over the timing of the announcement of the additional Iranian nuclear facility.
The two Europeans wanted the news announced when Obama was chairing the Security Counsel or tight after. Obama got his way, which was to wait till the leaders reconvened in Pittsburgh.
The narcissistic Obama did not want to “spoil the image of success” of his disarmament session, which passed a resolution to work towards a nuclear-free world and a host of measures designed to control the spread of nuclear weapons and reduce existing stocks. And Sarkozy and Brown are very upset:
Brown and Sarkozy rowed with Obama over Iranian nuclear announcement
By Alex Spillius in Washingtontake our poll - story continues below
The President is believed to have angered the European leaders by insisting on delaying a joint press conference until after he had chaired a meeting of the UN Security Council.
Mr Obama is said to have been worried the announcement would undermine the impact of his session on nuclear non-proliferation.
Details of the disagreement appeared to explain why Mr Brown and Mr Sarkozy, the French president, took a harder line on Iran than the American leader at the meeting
The Prime Minister said it was time “to draw a line in the sand” on Tehran’s nuclear programme while the Frenchman mocked Mr Obama for the naivety of his “dreams” of eliminating nuclear weapons.
According to French officials, Mr Brown and particularly Mr Sarkozy wanted to make a declaration on Sep 24, either at the Security Council meeting chaired by the US president or just afterwards.
The Europeans considered that there was no better stage from which to tell the world that the three countries’ intelligence services had worked together to uncover an underground uranium enrichment facility under construction at Qom.
But Mr Obama did not want to “spoil the image of success” of his disarmament session, which passed a resolution to work towards a nuclear-free world and a host of measures designed to control the spread of nuclear weapons and reduce existing stocks.
After much arm-twisting, Mr Brown and Mr Sarkozy were persuaded to delay the announcement until the opening of the G20 summit the next day in Pittsburgh.
Their joint appearance on Sep 25 overshadowed declarations about shifting the balance of power from the G8 to the G20 and launching a framework to rebalance economic growth.
News of the disagreement came as Mohammed ElBaradei, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was due to arrive in Tehran today [Sat].
He was expected to finalise a visit by inspectors to the enrichment facility within a fortnight, the allies have made progress in the prolonged impasse over Iran’s nuclear programme.