All Europe wants is to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran without undermining its partnership with the United States, but this is proving to be an impossible task.
There is growing divide between the US and the EU, as evidenced at both the US-led Middle East summit in Warsaw and the Munich Security Conference, on how best to deal with Iran in general and the nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), specifically.
It seems like Europe’s success in standing up to the US’s “maximum pressure” policy on Iran will largely depend on what Iran does.
The US has failed so far to obtain widespread high-level European support for its Iran policy, which is leaving the nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions to start, before bringing Iran back to the table for a new deal that addresses all of Iran’s malign problems.
In fact, Europe has gone so far as to set up a financial mechanism, called the Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), to facilitate trade with Iran in Euros in order to evade US sanctions. There are various issues with INSTEX already.
1) Iran is questioning how it will help them, given that it only allows Iran to buy non-sanctioned goods (i.e. food and medicine) and requires Iran to implement the needed anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing bills from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
2) The US maintains that it does violate sanctions
3) Iran would have to rein in its state security apparatus
Although, it’s hard to see why Europe is doing this at all. Iran has been caught at the centre of several terrorist and assassination plots against opposition groups in Europe over the past year, revealed that they lied about their nuclear weapons programme in violation of the nuclear deal, and have continued causing chaos across the Middle East. Is that really worth whatever financial benefits Europe is getting from the nuclear deal?
Should Europe not join with the US and abandon the nuclear agreement in favour of not just maintaining their partnership with the US, but also supporting the Iranian people?
After all, the Iranian people, who have been taking part in massive anti-regime protests since Dember 2017 are in favour of sanctions against the Regime, as these hit the mullahs hardest. This will allow the Iranian people to rise up and overthrow the mullahs who pose a real threat to the Iranian people and the world as a whole.