European Threats Meant to ‘Buy Time’ Until US Election
EghtesadOnline: The European signatories to the 2015 nuclear agreement would leave the sword of Damocles hanging over Iran until the outcome of the next US presidential election becomes clear, a former envoy to several European countries says.
"Europeans believe that US President Donald Trump is responsible for the situation surrounding the nuclear deal and denounce the US exit from the nuclear deal. They … hope that Trump will not be reelected in 2020 as a result of the impeachment inquiry," Abdolreza Faraji-Rad also told the Iranian Diplomacy website in a recent interview.
The US president, who last year pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed between Tehran and world powers, is facing calls for impeachment over accusations that he pressured a foreign leader to influence a US election.
"Europe will continue to issue threats against Iran's steps toward reducing its compliance with the JCPOA. However, they will not go further than that as they want to buy time until the results of the next US election are announced," Financial Tribune quoted Faraji-Rad, an expert on international affairs, as saying.
In response to renewed and toughened US sanctions and Europe's inaction to save the deal, Iran has been surpassing the limits on its atomic activities step by step. In the latest step, it resumed enrichment at its underground Fordow nuclear plant. It has promised more cuts in its commitments unless Europe acts but says its measures are "reversible".
France, Britain and Germany said recently they would consider a dispute resolution mechanism enshrined in the nuclear accord that could lead to United Nations sanctions being reimposed as a result of Tehran's steps toward scaling back its nuclear commitments.
Faraji-Rad maintains that triggering sanctions snapback is not on the Europeans' agenda because they do not want the agreement to collapse.
"So they will only keep releasing political statements and issuing empty threats against Iran until the situation becomes clearer," he said.
It should also be taken into consideration that Iran and France are still in talks, albeit not very seriously, he added.
French President Emmanuel Macron has been pushing to defuse tensions between Washington and Tehran over the past few months to salvage the nuclear agreement.
Asked if efforts are being made to "politicize" Iran's nuclear case, the analyst said it is "too soon" to make a judgment.
"However, we should accept the realities … The United States is exerting further pressure on all participants in the deal and the International Atomic Energy Agency to have stricter restrictions imposed on Iran's nuclear activities. So new developments are underway and we should be ready for new scenarios," he said.
Faraji-Rad said a "flawed" analysis of the situation would only worsen the situation, "so we should wait and see how things unfold and then make an assessment".