EghtesadOnline: Under pressure from a cascade of events, Tehran should be cautious not to allow the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel to use this opportunity to build an international consensus against Iran with regard to the 2015 nuclear deal, an expert on Europe and America said.
The timing of the move by France, Britain and Germany to trigger the nuclear accord’s dispute resolution mechanism could suggest that the three European powers are not after the reimposition of global sanctions, but are hoping to take advantage of Iran’s current fragile position to push for its return to previous nuclear commitments, Ali Bigdeli also told Iranian Diplomacy in a recent talk.
The European signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action have asserted that they triggered the dispute resolution mechanism “in good faith” following Iran’s final phase of reducing commitments to the accord. The process can ultimately lead to a "snapback" of global sanctions against Iran, according to Financial Tribune.
Pointing to Europe’s refusal to join the US "maximum pressure” campaign, Bigdeli said, “Although the European powers are not expecting Iran to return to the previous state of the JCPOA before the US reneged on the deal, they are trying to force Tehran’s retreat from the cuts in its commitments."
Chain of Events
According to Bigdeli, protests against Iranian-backed governments of Lebanon and Iraq, as well as November protests in Iran following a sharp rise in fuel prices were the first signals sent to the West indicating setbacks to the country's regional influence.
The US assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, intensified tensions in the region. Iran retaliated by attacking two bases in Iraq housing American troops.
As the country’s air defense systems were on high alert in anticipation of US reprisals, Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner, killing all 176 passengers. The three-day delay in announcing the real cause of the incident also gave rise to public outcry over charges of attempts to deceive in several cities and universities.
Bigdeli noted that Iran took its fifth and final step in scaling down its commitments under these circumstances, which prompted European powers, who had until now been tolerant of Tehran's moves, to trigger the mechanism.
"Since Iran is currently facing a myriad of challenges, France, Germany and Britain are under the impression that Tehran will shy away from drastic measures to head off another crisis," he added.
The expert reminded that if the JCPOA is abandoned, the ensuing political and diplomatic ramifications will not be in Europe's favor.
On what Iran can do to avoid pushing Europeans into the arms of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel, Bigdeli said, “Iran and the three European powers need to negotiate a solution that can preserve the nuclear deal."
After the launch of the dispute resolution mechanism, Iran's case is now set to be reviewed at the JCPOA Joint Commission, consisting of Iran, France, Germany, Russia, China, Britain and the European Union, in the comings days.
The failure to reach an agreement will propel the nuclear deal toward an advisory board and eventually the United Nations Security Council, where it will most probably face international sanctions.