Options for Europe after Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal










                                                                     By Dr.  Nabeel Al Atoum                              

                                                                      Head of the Iranian Studies Unit     

                                                                    Umayya  Center for Research and Strategic Studides                 

Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal was not a surprise to Europe, which has made strenuous efforts to save it, warning of its repercussions on regional and international security. It is certain that the “European” states which are guarantors of this deal were early aware of the outcome of that step, which placed it in an unenviable position.

Diplomacy on the brink of abyss (between Iran and Europe)

Europe is well aware that the decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal will certainly have a direct impact on its interests in Iran and lead to serious economic consequences for its companies, which have concluded billions of deals. The withdrawal is a serious obstacle to remittances and paralyzes the central bank. The Law of preventing  the movement of international remittances to and from Iran will put these countries in front of  several options, internal and external to Iran, all of them are  very serious. One of these options:

The first option is their continuity in nuclear deal

The European countries that are guarantors of the nuclear agreement have made strenuous efforts to keep Tehran committed to the agreement and in cooperation with the other signatory parties, and to replace the formula 5 + 1 minus one with a new international agreement, group 4 + 1, in a clear attempt to enter into an inevitable confrontation with the Trump administration . However,it remains fraught with many obstacles, most notably Khamenei’s statement and the taboos he has set. They are required not to be exposed to Iran’s missile program and its regional policies as well, and they are required to pledge a package of economic incentives to compensate Tehran urgently. This is in addition to the “state of confusion” in the statements made by the Iranian revolutionary institutions which show the magnitude of fear of the consequences of the withdrawal, and doubt the extent of the ability of European countries to keep the agreement continues without the United States.

 The second option is to wave of the withdrawal from the nuclear deal

Tehran has given the European Union countries one week to determine their final position on staying or withdrawing from the nuclear deal. Iranian media are focusing on the idea of ​​an end to the deal. Iranian officials are promoting a lack of interest in keeping the agreement, they talk much  to resume uranium enrichment by 20% and to report to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to reduce the number of international inspectors or to prevent their entry into nuclear facilities. They are not concerned about the United States’ response to a limited or broad military action against Iran, Europe has sent a warning to President Rohani that Washington is serious about adopting such an option, warning Tehran not to take unilateral action.

The third option , the diplomatic option is the safest

The European countries have demanded that Tehran refrain from exerting diplomatic pressure and giving time, because it is directly affected by Washington’s withdrawal from the agreement. The best option for Iran is to return to the negotiating table in order to reach an annex to the agreement that includes the main issues that Washington is talking about.

The fourth option is the possibility of military escalation

The European Union the “guarantor of the agreement” recognizes that matters indicate a confrontation between Washington and Tehran.  Everyone saw how Israel has entered effectively and strongly on the line, during the past few months Israel has targeted the Iranian presence in Syria, and admitted that it carried out exploratory flights using aircraft ” F-35 fantom” over Iranian territory, in a clear message to Tehran’s political and military leaders, that the unprecedented Israeli threat would not only strike Iran’s interests in Syria, but would strike hard inside Iran.

There is no doubt that the American withdrawal from the agreement gives Israel greater opportunity to expand its attacks and try to drag the United States into a broader war with Iran, with the entry of  the Arab countries on the front line with Iran, to force it to stop its aggressive regional policies, which warns Europe, and fears of its repercussions.

The fifth Option : The tools available to European countries to confront Washington.

The capabilities of the three European countries are certainly limited to the capabilities of the United States. After its withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, strict sanctions will be imposed on countries and companies cooperating with Tehran. This will put it in the dilemma of trade-off between its vital political and economic relations with Washington, which amounts to more than half a trillion dollars, and its limited economic relations with Tehran, 20 billion dollars, and in total will choose to move away from Tehran for fear of imposing harsh sanctions on the one hand, and prefer a truce with Washington on the other hand. Hence, we are skeptical of the unity of the European position against the pressure exerted by Washington on it, and this is what Iran is talking about.

The result is that Europe will back away from its commitments to abide by the obligations and rights of the nuclear deal, because it is virtually powerless to confront the United States, and soon it will raise the white flag


Estimating the situation is based on the opinion of the author and does not necessarily express the opinion of the site.

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