European Dependence on US Hampers Borrell’s JCPOA Efforts
EghtesadOnline: Europe’s security and economic dependence on the United States impedes the European Union foreign policy chief’s endeavors to preserve the 2015 nuclear accord, an expert on international relations said.
In an interview with ISNA, Nozar Shafiei shared his take on Josep Borrell’s recent meetings with senior Iranian officials regarding the latest developments in the row over Tehran’s nuclear program, citing a “structural dependence” in Europe’s economy, culture and security, which hinders the continent from independent policymaking, Financial Tribune reported.
The nuclear deal—formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—is on the verge of collapse as the US has already withdrawn from it and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Iran’s economy.
Subsequently, Iran scaled back on its nuclear commitments when the European signatories to the deal proved incapable of securing Tehran’s economic benefits from the JCPOA.
Europe, in turn, triggered the deal’s dispute resolution mechanism, which move could ultimately end in a so-called “snapback” of global sanctions on Iran, prompting the EU foreign policy chief to visit Iran early February on a de-escalating mission.
Not a Game-Changer
Shafiei noted that the EU is an effective player on the international scene, but not necessarily a determining factor.
The expert pointed out Europe’s failure in operationalizing a financial mechanism known as INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) to facilitate trade between Iran and the EU by circumventing American sanctions.
Without the support of the US, INSTEX never became a viable solution.
Shafiei said, “The top EU diplomat is a reasonable politician who has a positive outlook on JCPOA. Member states respect him and he can sway their perspective on Iran.”
Borrell assumed the EU position since December.
The former lawmaker speculated that the extension of the dispute resolution mechanism’s timeframe was the direct result of Borrell’s efforts.
Following Borrell’s visit to Iran, he held a press conference to announce that Europe would not strictly follow the time limit of the dispute resolution process that would have sent Iran’s case to the United Nation Security Council in 35 days.
Experts believe Europe is buying time until the US presidential election in November, before making a final decision on the hard-earned nuclear accord.
In an article published on the Project Syndicate online journal, the EU diplomatic chief called on Europe to ensure Iran’s economic interests before the deal crumbles under pressure.
Despite the apparent efforts of the top EU diplomat, the expert said Europe implicitly wants Iran to modify its behavior in response to the US exit from JCPOA.
“They [the Europeans] don’t have a specific plan to solve the nuclear issue, and unless such visits [including Borrell’s] deliver concrete results, these are just for a show,” Shafiei concluded.