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Western Think Tank: Nuclear Deal’s Collapse Would Spell Demise of Diplomacy

Western Think Tank: Nuclear Deal’s Collapse Would Spell Demise of Diplomacy Western Think Tank: Nuclear Deal’s Collapse Would Spell Demise of Diplomacy

Global diplomacy will suffer a fatal setback should the world agree to the United States' departure from the nuclear deal struck between Iran and major powers in 2015, the president of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy said. 

Werner Fasslabend also voiced support for efforts to preserve the accord, saying it is the best bedrock for addressing security issues in the future. 

"It is not understandable for me how the US unilaterally pulled out of an agreement reached by five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany, the European Union and Iran," he said during a recent meeting with members of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations in Tehran, IRNA reported.   

AIES is a private non-partisan research institute and a think tank that contributes to the enhancement of knowledge and awareness of European and international policies and security issues in Austria. It cooperates with similar European and international institutions.

The institute's president stressed in his Saturday meeting with Iranian officials that the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was approved by an international body and was not just an agreement on paper.

"Besides, the [International Atomic Energy] agency has access to Iran's nuclear facilities and has affirmed multiple times that it has met its commitments." 

Fasslabend underlined the EU's firm intention to remain in the pact and devise policies to keep it operational without the US, "even though it will not be a simple task". 

"Europeans are working hard to come up with a mechanism that can help companies continue their normal trade with Iran without being exposed to US penalties," he said, adding that Iran is an important market that Europe cannot afford losing.

>EU Seeking Autonomy 

According to Fasslabend, designing a policy to become independent of the US is a top priority for the EU, since reliance on American financial institutes and the US dollar has already hit Europe hard at critical times such as the US economic crisis in 2008.

France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had earlier said the US sanctions against Iran "offer an opportunity for Europe to develop its own independent financial institutions".

"It is not up to Washington to decide whether we are allowed to trade with Iran," he said.

Kamal Kharrazi, the head of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, lauded Europe's attempts to free itself of American influence.

"Trump's policies have prompted other states to seek autonomy and part ways from the US," he said. 

Kharrazi added that countries with strong economic ties with the US face a tough path toward independence, but the noticeable tendency to greater autonomy is a "blessing". 

>US Pretexts 

US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of JCPOA and reimposed its sanctions against Tehran to press Iranian leaders to come back to the negotiating table for a "treaty" that would include non-nuclear issues such as Iran's missile program and regional activity. 

Fasslabend argued that the missile program is "completely defensive" and Iran's only available option to improve its military capability in proportion to that of its neighbors. 

For decades, Iran has not had the chance to purchase military aircraft while other Persian Gulf states have been making substantial investments for purchasing modern military equipment, he added. 

"In this situation, what can Iran do to sustain its military capability? The answer is the missile program." 

Regarding Iran's role in regional conflicts, Fasslabend said AIES views the matter "differently from Washington, Riyadh or Tel Aviv".

"We are aware that stability in the Middle East is not possible without Iran or [by acting] against Iran, and acknowledge that Iran has been able to help stabilize the region through its political influence in recent years," he said. 

The Syrian war was aimed at disintegrating the country, but the Arab country remained intact, thanks to Iran's strong support of President Bashar al-Assad, Fasslabend said. 

"Without Iran, there would be no Assad in Damascus … We believe only such a government in power [as opposed to a government in exile] can bring stability."

Kharrazi also asserted that as a result of Iran's influence, the Syrian government is ruling over much of the country's territory after years of war, Lebanon's Hezbollah has secured more seats in the parliament and Iraq is forming its new government. 

"All these indicate Iran's success in the region," he said. 

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