EU’s Balancing Act to Maintain Iran Deal, US Ties

EU’s Balancing Act to Maintain Iran Deal, US Ties
EU’s Balancing Act to Maintain Iran Deal, US Ties

The apparently contradictory stance adopted by Europeans is geared toward maintaining their US alliance, while protecting the lucrative Iran nuclear deal from the threats of hawkish US President Donald Trump, a lawmaker said.

"Europeans are trying to keep the nuclear agreement in place, but they are also echoing some of the US anti-Iran demands," Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh also told ICANA.

"Europe's contradictory JCPOA stance … is aimed at safeguarding their relations with the US," he said.

Trump has cast doubt on the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is formally called, which was concluded in July 2015 and went into force six months later to curb Iran's nuclear program in return for lifting most western economic sanctions. Trump, who holds a grudge against the international agreement dating back to his electoral campaign for the 2016 presidential election, has branded it an "embarrassment" and chose to decertify Iran's compliance with the action plan on Oct. 13.

The assessment of Iran's commitments was required under a US law, which has given congress 60 days, until mid-September, to decide whether to reinstate the US sanctions suspended under the deal.

Trump has mentioned the deal's failure to curtail Tehran's missile capabilities and regional clout to press the case for his dogged opposition to the pact, negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama.

The European allies of the United States that helped the Obama administration negotiate the Iran accord, namely Britain, France and Germany, as well as the European Union, have stepped up efforts to save the deal and resist Trump's attempt to revise it. They argue that the landmark agreement is crucial to regional and global security, and have urged the US Congress not to let it fall apart.

Europe sees the agreement as a chief triumph of diplomacy in recent years and fears the deal's collapse would hurt its credibility and harm diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions around a nuclear standoff with North Korea.

However, reluctant to isolate themselves completely from Washington, they are parroting Trump's criticism of Iran's ballistic missile program and its role in what the West sees as fomenting instability in the Middle East. Tehran has dismissed Trump's criticism of JCPOA, stressing that the parties agreed that the deal's curbs be limited to the nuclear issue and not involve the Islamic Republic's missile defense and foreign policies.

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps has made clear it would not back down in the face of US and EU pressure, and would continue to pursue the ballistic missile program for deterring the hostile threats of adversaries.


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