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What the papers said 11 May 2018

rfi English, May 11

How dangerous for world peace is Donald Trump's decision to withdraw US support for the seven-nation nuclear deal with Iran; why does the political right hope to get rid of the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, as soon as possible; and how serious is the conflict between Israel and Iran?

Le Monde continues the analysis of the decision by US President Donald Trump to abandon the Iranian nuclear deal.

"A dangerous rupture," is Le Monde's headline summary.

Trump has promised to impose the toughest level of economic sanctions. The move has been welcomed by Israel and by Saudi Arabia.

The other signatories of the agreement have indicated that they will continue to respect its terms, leaving Paris, Berlin and London at loggerheads with Washington.

Le Monde says Trump's decision is good news for hardliners in the Iranian capital Tehran and bad news for transatlantic relations.

The same paper reports that Washington has already begun sanctions against Iran's elite army, the Revolutionary Guards.

The United States accuse six Iranian nationals and three organisations, including the Iranian Central Bank, of participating in a network which transferred millions of dollars to the elite unit.

Washington says that the money was being used for unspecified evil purposes and that it intends to cut off all circuits supplying cash to the Revolutionary Guards.

Who will take over from Anne Hidalgo?

Right-wing paper Le Figaro takes a local angle, suggesting that several recent set-backs for the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, have opened the prospect of a takeover of the capital by a candidate from the party of President Emmanuel Macron in the next election in 2020.

Le Figaro's editorial is headlined "Paris in the wake of the Hidalgo fiasco".

They don't like her at all. In the first place, she's a Socialist, one of the few figures of the mainstream left who was not carried away by the Macronian tidal wave in the last elections.

But, asks Le Figaro, how long can she hang on? Her political opponents are lining up, even some of her allies are ready to betray her. Hildago is increasingly isolated, a tattered remnant of the old order.

What, exactly, has Anne Hildago done to earn such harsh criticism from the right-wing daily?

Well, for starters, It finds her too bossy, showing an unwelcome authoritarian streak. And her policies are rubbish, it thinks. We're left with a capital city which is dirty, full of smashed-up bicycles, with monstrous traffic jams and a long list of legal complaints against the city council. At the same time, alleges Le Figaro, the mayor has seen fit to boost the size of her personal entourage without reason and she has allowed the debt to get out of control.

Her only chance of survival, says the right-wing paper with some regret, is in the fact that her opponents in 2020 are likely to be numerous and completely disunited.

The last time the right had control of Paris was back in 1995, when the outgoing mayor was Jacques Chirac.

The Le Figaro editorial ends with the sage observation that it's all very well to criticise Hidalgo but presenting a programme capable of waking up the sleeping beauty that is Paris is something else entirely. If only Le Fiagro would abide by its own wisdom from time to time.

How close are we to war in the Middle East?

Left-leaning Libération is worried about the tension between Iran and Israel, with a front-page headline wondering just how far that conflict can go.

Libé's inside story, detailing Iranian rockets attacks on Israel and the Jewish state's reply in bombing Iranian positions in Syria, is headlined "State madness". The article says that Israel is using the Trump decision to get out of the nuclear deal with Tehran as an occasion to flex its military muscle in the region.

Libération's editorial says Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are playing a dangerous game, hoping to reduce or eliminate Iran's undoubtedly dangerous power. And thus boost the standing of Saudi Arabia.

For the moment, the official line is clear and calm. A message has been sent by Israel to its enemies. Let them be warned.

But what about Russia, allied to both Tehran and to Syria? What about Hezbollah, financed by Iran and strengthened by its recent strong showing in Lebanese elections?

One wrong move, warns Libé, and the region could explode.

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