The Iranian dilemma for Europe« Back
The decision of US President Donald Trump about the withdrawal of the US from the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA) was based on rather subjective Israeli data on the Iranian project "Amad". Nevertheless, before November 4, the Americans plan to restore sanctions against Iran's energy, petrochemical and financial sector. Moreover, on May 13, Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, said that after the exit from JCPOA, the US could impose sanctions against European companies for cooperation with Tehran.
The leaders of Britain, Germany and France Teresa May, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron in a joint statement called the nuclear deal with Iran important for maintaining the common security of their countries. They urged the United States to refrain from measures that impede the implementation of this deal by other parties, and agreed to continue to fulfill their obligations under the JCPOA. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogerini, said that the EU is concerned about the decision of Donald Trump to withdraw from the JCPOA and will remain committed to the implementation of the nuclear deal. At the same time, the EU countries intend to protect the interests of their companies operating in Iran, and are ready to challenge unilateral US sanctions in the WTO, if they will affect European interests.
Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the JCPOA will destabilize the region and lead to new conflicts, Russia, China, Turkey, Japan, Australia, Italy, Spain and several other countries believe. This behavior of the US allies is not accidental; it reflects all the growing pressure on them from Washington, which first comes out of UNESCO and the Paris agreement on climate. Then they were required to contain Russia in a significant increase in spending, with the aim of buying US weapons. Here, too, are the obstacles created by the United States for the implementation of a profitable project for the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline and many other Washington actions that do not meet European interests.
Under the threat of US sanctions, there are now large European companies. Thus, the French Total has concluded a contract with Iran for the amount of about $5 billion, British Petroleum, together with the National Iranian Oil Company, carries out natural gas production in Iran. And the European aircraft construction concern Airbus has already started supplying civil aircraft to Iran (the total number of them can be 118 units).
Until November 4, 2018, Americans, Europeans and Iranians will seek an acceptable compromise for the parties on the nuclear issue. Two scenarios are possible: either under strong US pressure, the EU will take a course to support the US position by changing the JCPOA, or not. In the first case, a nuclear deal will actually cease to exist. Gradually, Europeans will join the American sanctions, pronouncing exceptions for individual companies. This will fully prove the lack of independence in the EU's foreign policy, which will gradually cease to be regarded as an independent foreign policy player. The international prestige of both leading European states and the EU as a whole will sharply decrease.
Iran will find itself in a difficult socio-economic situation, but will continue to pursue an independent foreign policy. A consequence of this may be the coming to the presidential power in Iran (2021) of a more conservative leader who will begin a policy of US military deterrence in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. In the long run, this could lead to an armed confrontation between Iran and the US, especially if the IRI resumes the production of highly enriched uranium.
There is also some intermediate option in the form of partial EU support for US demands on Iran and some concessions from Tehran. This will not lead to a new nuclear deal with Iran, but it will allow at least maintaining the JCPOA at a formal level. It is this scenario of the further development of events that is most probable.
Thus, the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran led to the previously unthinkable confrontation of the Americans with the leading European states and the EU as a whole. One of the reasons for this is that the United States began to consider Europe as its rival and even its rival. So, the US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said that the Chinese and European approaches to foreign trade are close, because they are based on protectionism. Of course, we are not talking about a trade war between the United States and Europe, but they were on the verge of a deep crisis for the first time in decades. And on how the Iranian dilemma is resolved, the interests of many European countries depend, which pushes them to the obvious or covert confrontation of the United States.