EghtesadOnline: Despite the US attempts to drive a wedge between Iran and Europe over the 2015 nuclear deal, the European powers set great store on Iran’s significant regional role and, therefore, are incentivized to help preserve the landmark accord, a lawmaker said.
“Europeans are eager to maintain communication with Iran to secure their regional interests,” Masoud Goudarzi told ICANA in a recent interview.
The lawmaker said Iran needs to “strategize a win-win situation” between itself and Europe to protect its national interests, especially at a time when sweeping US sanctions have been reimposed on Iran, according to Financial Tribune.
After the US reneged on the 2015 nuclear agreement—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—and reimposed heavy sanctions on Iran’s economy, Tehran launched talks with the European powers to find a way to save the deal without cutting back on its obligations as per the terms of JCPOA.
To protect at least some of Iran’s economy from the US sanctions, France, Britain and Germany set up a special purpose vehicle called INSTEX or the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges. However, the mechanism never became operational.
Goudarzi added that the European Union is facing tremendous US pressure.
“Although the Europeans remained in the deal, we saw that they backed off from operationalizing INSTEX due to the US pressure,” he said.
In response to European inaction, Iran scaled back its nuclear commitments, which in turn provoked Europe to trigger the nuclear deal’s dispute resolution mechanism, a process that can culminate in the return of global sanctions on Tehran.
Avoiding a Crisis
Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, another lawmaker, also commented on Europe’s policy toward Tehran, saying that saving the JCPOA gives the Europeans “mental security”.
“Although US President Donald Trump has created a crisis by withdrawing from JCPOA and delivered a blow to the deal, Europe is steering away from such approaches,” he said.
According to Falahatpisheh, the 2015 nuclear deal is currently not a priority for the European Union, as they are struggling to cope with the aftermath of Britain’s exit from the union.
The lawmaker noted that the European signatories to the deal will avoid future actions until the next US presidential election.
“Trump is up for reelection in about 10 months and the US policy toward JCPOA could undergo drastic change, if a Democrat takes up the mantle,” he said.
Falahatpisheh said, “We should not expect Europe to help Iran with the lifting of sanctions. Europeans have taken a wait-and-see approach until the US presidential election comes to a conclusion [in November].”