EghtesadOnline: The Europeans are creating a big commotion over Iran's nuclear and missile programs in order to deflect attention from their failure to fulfill their commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement, a political expert says.
"Europe has begun to support America's rhetoric against Iran to cover up its own shortcomings," Fatemeh Sharifi wrote in a recent article published by IRNA.
In early December, France, Germany and Britain—the European signatories to the nuclear accord—accused Iran of developing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, alleging the move goes against a UN Security Council resolution.
Ambassadors from the three European nations urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a letter to inform the council in his next report that Iran's ballistic missile activity is "inconsistent" with the nuclear deal—officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, according to Financial Tribune.
The missile provision in the council resolution, which enshrines the agreement, calls upon Iran "not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons".
But it does not require Tehran to halt such activity and the Iranian government insists all its missile activities are legal and not nuclear-related.
Sharifi, an expert on international affairs, believes that Europe's recent accusations against Iran are an "evasive" action and meant to shift the focus from their inaction to save the nuclear agreement.
"The three European nations are leveling accusations against our country because they want to conceal their failure to comply with their obligations and portray Iran as the main party to blame for the potential collapse of JCPOA," she said.
The Europeans had criticized last year's decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw his country from the multinational nuclear agreement and reinstate sanctions against Tehran and had pledged to make up for the US absence from the deal. However, they have been unable to deliver on those promises so far.
French, British and German officials have stepped up their rhetoric against the Islamic Republic in recent months, threatening to consider a dispute resolution mechanism enshrined in the agreement that could lead to the reimposition of UN sanctions on Iran as a result of its steps toward scaling back its nuclear commitments.
In response to US sanctions and Europe's inaction to fulfill its commitments, Iran has been surpassing the limits on its atomic activities step by step. It has promised more cuts in its commitments unless Europe acts but says its measures are "reversible".
Sharifi says Europe's change of tone is a new tactic meant to "change the rules of the game", as it cannot afford to take decisions independent of the United States.
"The Europeans want to force Iran to enter a new game or negotiate a new deal that could deprive the Iranian nation of their absolute rights," she said.
The analyst noted that Europe might be considering other scenarios, such as persuading Iran to accept a new deal under the existing agreement.
"Such a scenario seems more rational as Europe is well aware that America's maximum pressure campaign against Iran has failed and going down the same path would only lead to a zero-sum game," Sharifi wrote.