Nuclear Middle East – Europe’s Foreign Policy Armageddon

By Thomas Forsch

IRAN’s much tarnished nuclear deal took on renewed importance on December 1, when the EU Foreign Ministry changed hands.

Joseph Borrell is now the new High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, replacing Federica Mogherini. 

We can only hope that a desire for more decisive action accompanies this change. 

The parting Mogherini can point to one significant achievement during her tenure: the EU’s participation in the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal. 

Yes, that historic event lies four years in the past already.

The time past since has also marked Mogherini’s and, in fact, the EU’s biggest failure: The lack of courage to take a clear stance against the Trump Administration and the latter’s abandonment of the deal. 

The picture painted by present-day Iran is dire. 

The Iran nuclear deal struck by Barack Obama has been mortally undermined by the Trump White House

Although reliable numbers are impossible to obtain, the regime’s brutal crackdown on the November protests against economic hardship killed several hundred, if not thousands of Iranians. 

The religious leadership of the Islamic state feels under siege. Their zones of influence in Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon are battlefields.

The Iranians run a significant risk of losing their vassals in all of these countries. 

It is hence almost unavoidable, from the regime’s standpoint, to answer internal demonstrations but with brute force. 

There is no silver lining at the end of the tunnel. The external economic pressure the Americans erroneously deem successful continues. 

Massive amounts of business deals between European companies and Iran failed in the past due to the lack of appropriate payment mechanisms.

The Americans control global trade’s main currency, the US Dollar, and our European leaders have been pussyfooting around. 

Donald Trump has a little election coming up. A tough stance on Iran, as promised during his 2016 campaign, and the perceived need for any incumbent president to stay on in times of a – at least potential – war play right into his egotistical hands. 

Those of you who remember the George W. Bush reelection in 2004 and the preceding 2003 Iraq War against Sadam’s imaginary weapons of mass destruction will have a feeling of deja vu

With the US hellbent to continue its violation of the Iran Nuclear Deal, the EU must step up most decisively. It must ensure that the deal lives on, and Iran and all remaining parties respect it. 

Otherwise, Iran will continue to defend its sphere of influence by all means, including military force.

And the Iranian establishment will feel forced to pursue its nuclear capabilities — a dangerous track which may end up in a nuclearised Middle East. 

The EU must seek an independent line from that of Washington on dealing with Iran

The joined French, German and British effort to create INSTEX, the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, is a step in the right direction

But the EU must do much more to promote the initiative to achieve support from all European Union members.

Legitimate trade with Iran must be possible for all Europeans free from the influence of today’s world-dominating Dollar imperialism. 

The new European Commission’s approach towards more resilience against US sanctions and the strengthening of the Euro as a global strategic asset and as a world trade currency are encouraging signs

Even if you have no religious affiliation – pray that our newly appointed European decision-makers will have more courage than their predecessors.

The kind of courage needed to position the EU as a global force, seeking to peacefully coexist with other nations, independent from unstable US regimes, and able to act as a mitigating power whenever and wherever needed. 

Or else, the EU will truly become irrelevant as a supranational body

Thomas Forsch is an international lawyer and political theorist.

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