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By John Irish PARIS (Reuters) - A year after France scuppered a deal on Iran's nuclear program it is taking a softer stance in current talks, encouraged by a more inclusive U.S. approach and the knowledge that failure this year could have grim repercussions across the broader region. France, a U.N. Security Council veto-holder, has long held out for strict terms trading a loosening of international sanctions on Iran's oil-based economy in return for commitments by Tehran to show its nuclear work is as peaceful as it insists. The discovery last year that the U.S. was holding secret talks with the Iranians was an opportunity for France, by saying 'no' to a deal, to assert itself internationally and rebuke Washington for backing down on bombing Syria as punishment for using chemical arms. It also helped Paris to cement new commercial ties with Gulf Arab states.