Is Europe really struggling to maintain JCPOA?
The equations which affect the nuclear agreement are getting more and more complicated. Many analysts of the international affairs have predicted that, regarding the direct influence of the United States and U.S. Treasury orders and decisions on European companies, European authorities can’t practically provide necessary guarantees for the continuation of the nuclear deal.
Besides, others believe that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) isn’t actually an independent variable in EU policies and actions, and at any moment, the European troika and other EU member states may change their approach to this agreement.
On the other hand, we had lately witnessed the leaders of Europe’s two most powerful countries — France and Germany — visiting the White House and trying to convince Donald Trump on their back-to-back trips.
The French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel consolidated their diplomatic efforts with several calls between the European leaders, including British Prime Minister Theresa May. After their failure in convincing the U.S. President to remain as part of the JCPOA, EU officials were hopeful that diplomacy and the promise of economic benefits could keep Iran committed to the nuclear deal in spite of the U.S. withdrawal.
“We will be looking at a package of measures we may be able to devise as Europeans to encourage Iran to stay in,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson noted. “We will look at potential options for supporting continued sanctions relief for Iran to ensure we meet our commitments under the deal.”
News sources revealed that the European Commission has been looking for measures to counter the introduction of any U.S. sanctions that may harm European businesses, including the possible use of an EU “blocking regulation” which would, in essence, ban European companies from respecting American sanctions where those sanctions might damage EU interests, notably trade and the movement of capital.
Anyhow, the question is raised here that why France, Germany and UK are eager to preserve the deal. For sure, they pretend to be peaceniks who care about other countries, but the fact is that their support and that of the European Union for the JCPOA is basically rooted in self-interest. Yes! For them, the JCPOA translates into dollars and valuable trade with Iran. It should be noted that the European Union was Iran’s largest trade partner before the imposition of sanctions and clearly has an interest in recovering that position.
Several EU countries have benefited from the restoration of business and trade relations with our country. Trade between Iran and France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Austria grew when sanctions were lifted.
All these indicate that EU’s attempts for saving the JCPOA is not solely out of a concern for Iran’s interests. Contrary to their characterizations, Macron, Merkel and May, may not be “honest brokers” in this deal, rather, they are partisans campaigning for what is best for France, Germany and Britain, or better to say, for raising the possibility of remaining in power in future.
However, what counts in this equation is the real capability of EU member states in resisting against the U.S. threats under such circumstances: The EU have to stand against Donald Trump, the U.S. controversial President and his hideous attempts to challenge the JCPOA. From the outset, Trump didn’t accept the JCPOA, and made the nuclear deal with Iran an instrument for raising hostility against our country.
He spoke as if our country had to answer for other issues such as its missile capability, while accordingly there’s no link between that subject with lifting the unfair sanctions put on Iran by the U.S. government. It’s crucial to analyze The European countries’ words and measures in such an atmosphere. The European countries have failed to fulfill their obligations to the JCPOA, and in questioning the United States for not being committed to its obligations under Iran's nuclear deal. Instead, they pushed Iran to accept a secondary and complementary agreement, and to accept further restrictions on its missile program and its regional activities.
In any case, the withdrawal of the United States has actually led to the failure of the nuclear deal. This is while European countries are currently trying to maintain the nuclear deal so that it would contribute their interests. In general, the JCPOA has different strengths and weaknesses. The Achilles heel of this agreement is about paragraphs 11-13 of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which states that if the United States withdraws from the nuclear agreement unilaterally, this agreement will no longer be valid in the previous manner. The other parties involved (other members of the P 5+1) play a less central role in this equation, and haven’t had an independent strategy towards this issue. And this rule is true of the European troika as well.
On the other hand, the United States has invested heavily in major industries in the world, including the aircraft industry. Now Washington is using this massive investment to put these companies and other pressure. Meanwhile, Airbus and Boeing have explicitly stated that they are subject to U.S. decisions on the JCPOA.
Therefore, according to the type of these international agreements, Iran should demand compensation for the cancellation of the agreements with these two enterprises, and this issue should be pursued by our country and the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development. This was the first test of European companies in confrontation with the United States (after Washington's withdrawal from the JCPOA).
This is while our country has taken a flexible stance in response to Europeans’ continuous requests after the United States announced that it’s no longer part of the nuclear deal. In return, Iran has called on the European authorities to stand up to the United States in practice against sanctions against our country. However, the stance taken by Airbus and Boeing companies reflects Europe's lack of resistance to the United States.
It is obvious that the United States should compensate for canceling the Airbus and Boeing contracts with Iran. But beyond this, the cancellation of these agreements and the passive position taken by the European officials clearly showed that the European troika can’t be trusted in preserving and supporting the JCPOA.
Source: Tehran Times
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