Europe Defies Trump in Order to Save Iran Nuclear Deal and Reduce Tensions in the Gulf
Donald Trump and his national security team have been trying to convince Europe to abandon the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [Iran Nuclear Deal] and reimpose sanctions as the United States did last year. The other signatories to the deal in Europe, Germany, France, and Britain, along with China, Russia and the European Union realized from the start that President Trump had made a colossal blunder in exiting the agreement and had no viable strategy, aside from fits of twitter bluster, to force Iran to renegotiate the deal. So they have been trying to find a way to defy Trump and salvage the agreement.
In recent weeks, Iran surpassed a cap on its stockpiles of enriched uranium and has been flexing its muscles in the Persian Gulf in order to encourage the remaining signatories to find a way to blunt Trump's economic sanctions, especially those imposed on Tehran's oil and banking sectors. If they can work out the details, Iran will return to compliance under the Nuclear Deal and America will be largely isolated with regard to Western relations with the Islamic Republic.
Yesterday, amid the growing tensions in the Gulf, diplomats from Iran and the other remaining signatories recommitted to salvaging the Iran Nuclear Deal.
AP: “The atmosphere was constructive, and the discussions were good,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi told reporters after the meeting ended.
“I cannot say that we resolved everything” but all the parties are still “determined to save this deal,” he added.
In June, France, Britain and Germany set up a special trade channel, known as the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges [INSTEX], to help EU members trade with Iran and circumvent US sanctions. It's essentially a barter system, but Iranian officials say the mechanism does not meet all of its needs because it doesn't facilitate oil exports.
The current round of negotiations is meant to expand on the INSTEX barter system, including oil, undermining Trump's new sanctions and salvaging the Iran Nuclear agreement. However, the system they are creating will have to be quite complex to circumvent all US sanctions on the oil and financial sectors so it could still be months before Iran can expect some relief.
They made enough headway yesterday to agree to organize a higher-level meeting of foreign ministers soon. All the parties realize that if these talks fail, tensions will continue to increase in the Persian Gulf and almost nobody has a great deal of confidence that Donald Trump can handle a foreign policy crisis successfully. Quite the opposite.
Photo credit: Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres
By: Don Lam & Curated Content