The Making of a Plan B: Europe’s Iran Nuclear Deal Policy in Case of a US Pull-Out

Written by | Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

European leaders are increasingly being under pressure to formulate a strategy in case the United States withdraws from the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposes sanctions on the country. The alternative to the US withdrawal would be to agree on tighter terms proposed by Washington that could have a negative impact on European companies eager to trade with Tehran.

Brussels says that it is fully supportive of the nuclear deal and some analysts and MEPs say that the EU should withstand the pressure from the White House. Others, however, claim that it should comply with the US demands given the US importance for the trans-Atlantic security. The EU is concerned about its business community and the bloc’s spokesperson said that EU leaders were looking into ways to protect European companies. “We would not speculate about hypothetical situations. The EU always seeks to protect the legitimate interests of its economic operators,” the spokesperson said when asked whether the EU had a plan B to protect European investors if the Trump administration ultimately decides to withdraw from the agreement reached in July 2015.

The US President, however, called the deal an “embarrassment” that was not in line with the US interests and that needs to be “corrected”. “This is the last chance… I hereby call on key European countries to join with the United States in fixing significant flaws in the deal, countering Iranian aggression, and supporting the Iranian people. If other nations fail to act during this time, I will terminate our deal with Iran,” Donald Trump warned. “If Iran does not comply with any of these [new] provisions, American nuclear sanctions would automatically resume.”

European diplomats, on the other hand, are in opposition to this opinion. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that the Iran nuclear deal “is a deal that prevented a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, next to us. That brought security in the region and to young people in the country. That was the European way and it was thanks to us because we were the mediator”.

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