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EghtesadOnline: The European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal cannot afford to trigger sanctions snapback because it is Iran's "redline" and would cause a collapse of the agreement and undermine security in Europe, a political analyst says.

"Referring Iran's nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council would spell the end of JCPOA, which would not serve Europe's security interests and will prevent them from exercising influence on regional and international developments," Morteza Maki also told IRNA in a recent interview. 

US President Donald Trump last year pulled out of the nuclear accord between Iran and major powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, under which Tehran undertook to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. 

The US administration has reimposed and toughened economic sanctions against Iran since then, triggering a rift with its European allies who are determined to save the deal reached after a long and grueling series of negotiations, according to Financial Tribune.

In response to US sanctions and Europe's inaction to ensure the benefits promised under JCPOA, Iran has been surpassing the limits on its atomic activities step by step. It has promised to cut back on more curbs unless Europe fulfill its commitments, while reminding the world that its measures are "reversible".

France, Britain and Germany said recently they would consider a dispute resolution mechanism enshrined in the agreement, which could lead to the reimposition of UN sanctions on Iran.

Maki, an expert on international affairs, says European threats are part of their "carrot-and-stick" policy, which Tehran has repeatedly rejected.



Security Concerns

The European Union is facing several challenges related to the nuclear deal, he said.

"The Europeans cannot resort to the sanctions snapback option because it would only make security issues more complicated and give rise to greater uncertainties, which would negatively affect Europe's macro-policies in the Middle East." 

Maki said Europe does not want to align itself with Trump on Iran by causing a collapse of the deal but, at the same time, it wants to stop Iran from further reducing its compliance with the agreement. 

A decision by six more European countries to join the EU financial mechanism set up to facilitate trade with Iran despite US sanctions can also be interpreted in this light, he added. 

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden recently said in a joint statement that they would begin the process of joining the financial system, which is known as the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). The payment channel has remained grounded and it is not clear how the accession of these six states would help activate the same.

Maki maintains that Europe will refrain from taking any drastic measure with regard to the nuclear deal, as it wants to buy time (by slowing Iran’s walk back from its JCPOA obligations) until the outcome of the next US presidential election becomes clear.


Europe Iran security nuclear deal Sanctions Snapback Agreement Collapse Nuclear Issue European signatories Afford Trigger Cross Redline