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EU Unlikely to Get More Concessions From Tehran to Save JCPOA

EU Unlikely to Get More Concessions From Tehran to Save JCPOAEU Unlikely to Get More Concessions From Tehran to Save JCPOA

There is little chance that European powers would be able to present an initiative to obtain further concessions from Tehran with the aim of preventing the collapse of the Iran nuclear agreement, says an Iranian political expert.  

In a recent article published by the Iranian Diplomacy website, Rahman Ghahremanpour argued that there are certain obstacles that make it difficult for the Europeans to persuade Iran to renegotiate the deal or talk US President Donald Trump into maintaining it.

Trump gave the nuclear agreement a final reprieve on January 12 but warned European allies and the US Congress they have to work with him to fix "the disastrous flaws" in the pact or face a US exit.

It has been reported in western media that key European powers are likely to introduce a "package of measures" to Washington or negotiate a side agreement to allay Trump's concerns about Iran without reopening the nuclear pact, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The new strategy could include threatening Iran with targeted economic sanctions if it does not agree to curtail its ballistic weapons arsenal as well as pressuring Tehran into changing its regional policy, according to Reuters.

Iran has repeatedly said its missile program is purely defensive and has dismissed accusations that its regional activities are destabilizing.

  Weakened Position

Ghahremanpour says the European Union is currently grappling with a range of internal issues, including a refugee crisis and Brexit, and is not as strong and united as before to stand against the United States.

In addition, Brussels is highly dependent on technological and intelligence cooperation with Washington and would not afford to alienate it for the sake of keeping the nuclear agreement in place, he noted.

He believes another hindrance is the fact that there is no "convincing reason" for Iran to accept restrictions beyond those it agreed to under the nuclear deal or hold talks over its ballistic missile program.

Such demands would mark the collapse of the accord for Iran, he said, adding, "When an agreement has no benefit for a country, its raison d'être is questioned. And under international law, that country has the right to pull out of it."

"There is also no binding international treaty requiring countries to restrict their missile activities."    

  Security Fears

Ghahremanpour says Europe is more afraid of the security consequences of the failure of the nuclear deal than the cancellation of its business contracts with Tehran as a result.

The US and other major powers lifted broad nuclear sanctions on Iran after the landmark deal in return for curbs on its atomic activities. Tehran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

"Brussels fear that the termination of the JCPOA would lead to confrontation between Iran and the US in the region, the spread of insecurity there, and the influx of refugees to Europe that is still reeling from the negative consequences of the arrival of Syrian refugees," the expert said.

However, the US is less concerned about the rise in insecurity in the Middle East due to its geographic distance from the region, he wrote.

  EU's Trump Card

From Ghahremanpour's perspective, the only advantage that Europe has is the lack of international or domestic support for Trump's hardline policies as well as the negative sentiment toward him in European nations.

However, the US president's numerous powers under the constitution make it difficult for the EU to work with institutions of power inside the US while opposing the president, he noted.

The landmark accord was negotiated between Iran and the UN Security Council's five permanent members (Britain, China, France, Russia, and the US) plus Germany.    

 

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