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Europe Is Committed to Resisting US Pressures on the JCPOA

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Davood Aghaei
 University professor and analyst of Middle Eastern affairs 

After US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), European countries announced that the JCPOA is an international agreement and must be respected by all signatories. Europe believes that the JCPOA and its implementation have guaranteed by a United Nations Security Council resolution and all members of the United Nations must, therefore, respect it. Europe announced that it will do what it can to maintain the JCPOA and also urged Iran to remain committed to the JCPOA. In return, European countries promised to support the survival and continuation of this agreement. The official positions adopted by European countries so far have been in support of Iran. For its part, Iran set a deadline for the European Union to present its package of proposals in order to guarantee realization of Iran’s benefits from the JCPOA. This proposed package was meant to guarantee removal of anti-Iran sanctions and cooperation at various levels.

During past weeks, there have been various reports from different sources about this package and its contents, but no official source has so far confirmed those reports. Of course, no accurate information has been so far released on the content of Europe’s package of proposals and the readiness of the European Union’s member states to work with Iran for the survival of the JCPOA, but evidence shows that Europeans are drawing up practical plans to support Iran.

In view of this approach, one can conclude that the recent trip by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani to two relatively influential European countries, one of which is the rotational head of the European Union, has been helpful to achieve a better solution for maintaining the JCPOA and boosting the two sides’ relations. The trip offered an opportunity for European countries to hear about Iran’s viewpoints and also allowed Iran to be informed of the positions and viewpoints of these two European states. From the standpoint of international politics, such trips by a country’s high-ranking officials can be very determining and effective, especially when that country is facing international problems and pressures.

Europeans have announced that they expect the JCPOA to be maintained, but Iran says if this is going to happen, its interests must be met according to conditions set in the JCPOA. The most important interests that Iran seeks to meet through the JCPOA is the removal of economic and international sanctions against the country. During long years of negotiations, Europeans did a tough job to achieve the nuclear deal with Iran and even in security terms, are willing for Iran to remain in compliance with its commitments as per the JCPOA.

The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has released 12 reports since the implementation of the JCPOA started in which he has reaffirmed lack of any diversion in Iran with regard to its commitments and all 12 reports have underlined full implementation of the JCPOA by Iran. This state of affairs is considered as a major achievement for Europe, in particular, and the international community, in general.

European countries are willing for the JCPOA to stay in place as a guarantee that the current trend in Iran’s nuclear program will continue and to make sure that Iran complies with its commitments to observe limitations set forth in the JCPOA. Therefore, maintaining the JCPOA is a very valuable asset for Europeans in security terms and with respect to regional issues and this is why they want to do anything they can in order to keep the JCPOA in place.

When analyzing the ability of European countries to guarantee Iran’s interests as per the JCPOA, we must accept that European countries have no control over multinational companies. These companies must be accountable to their shareholders and meet their interests. Therefore, investors and investment companies take their money where they are sure that they can reap guaranteed benefits. Such companies have no legal obligation to invest in Iran, because they will face severe US sanctions and are concerned that they will suffer great loss and harm in case of investment in Iran. Although European countries may not have full control or supervision over big multinational companies, their decision can be effective in the case of smaller companies. Such companies have no trade or economic relations with the United States, take advantage of local technologies, and do not have profound dependence on or relations with the United States. Europe’s policy is to take advantage of the capital and cooperation of such companies as an alternative for big multinational firms to continue cooperation, trade and investment in Iran, so that, Europe’s economic, financial and trade relations with Iran would continue despite US sanctions and pressures.

All told, European countries have so far stood up against the United States and have resisted its will. Despite threatening and insulting positions taken by the United States government and its withdrawal from the JCPOA, European states have so far remain committed to negotiators with Iran and have announced that they are determined to remain in the JCPOA. The recent trip by President Rouhani can ensure continuation of their commitment to the nuclear deal.

 

*Photo Creditfinancialtribune

*These views represent those of the author and are not necessarily Iran Review's viewpoints.

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