Emergence of Hardliners in Europe May Augur Ill for Iran
EghtesadOnline: The rise to power of politicians with extremist views in the European Parliament could make the situation surrounding the fate of the Iran nuclear deal more complicated, says a political observer.
"The outcome of the European parliamentary elections is important for many reasons. Besides its impact on domestic issues in Europe, which can determine the future path and policies of the bloc, it is of great significance to the Iranians," Ali Mousavi Khalkhali, editor-in-chief of the Iranian Diplomacy website, wrote in a recent article.
It is even more important than ever in light of the fact that an administration with hardline policies is in charge in the United States, which has been trying to push its heavy-handed approach against Tehran.
People across the European Union went to the polls last week to vote for the parties they want to represent them in the European Parliament, one of the legislative bodies of the EU and the only one whose members—known as MEPs—are directly elected by EU citizens, Financial Tribune reported.
The election was seen by some as a gauge of the rising influence of nationalism in Europe, which has made its mark in national elections from Italy and France to Hungary and Poland in recent years.
Results show that Europe's traditional centrist coalition lost its majority in the elections, with far-right nationalist parties and liberal, pro-European Union parties both gained ground, NPR said.
Many experts predict that if extremist groups find a stronger voice in the European Union and parties who advocate further alignment with the United States rise to power, Iran will face serious challenges, particularly with regard to the nuclear issue," Khalkhali said.
“The Europeans had pledged to help offset the impact of US unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement signed between Iran and world powers and the subsequent sanctions, but have so far failed to do so.”
Washington's major European allies opposed last year's decision by US President Donald Trump to abandon the deal that also includes China and Russia, under which international sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for Tehran accepting curbs on its nuclear program.
Britain, France and Germany have set up the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, a new channel for non-dollar trade with Iran to avoid US sanctions. But it does not initially allow the big transactions that Tehran says it needs to keep the deal afloat.
"Many Iranians feel that the Europeans have been indifferent to their concerns about the attitude of the Trump administration," the expert said, adding that the election of Trump sympathizers to key positions in Europe reinforces Iran's skepticism toward the EU.
He believes that a further divergence of views between the troika of France, Germany and Britain and other European governments who support US policies will prove detrimental to Iran.
Khalkhali also maintains that the situation is further complicated by the prospect of EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker being replaced by politicians who are less determined to save the nuclear accord when their terms end later this year.