Politics

European Allies Fail to Support US Effort to Reinstate Sanctions on Iran

The U.S. effort to renew the arms embargo against Iran set to expire on Oct. 18 met with opposition from its European allies, France, Germany, and the UK. However none of them supports giving Iran the opportunity to buy and sell weapons, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News.

For almost two years, the United States “has made every diplomatic effort” trying to renew the arms embargo against Iran. On Friday, the U.S. officially requested that the United Nations restore UN sanctions on Iran that had been lifted by a UN Security Council Resolution adopted in 2015 which also endorsed the Iran nuclear deal.

This request has met with criticism by European signatories of the Iran nuclear deal. The E3 countries—France, Germany, the UK—refused to support the U.S. initiative because it withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018.

High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell
High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell holds a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, on May 26, 2020. (Pool/Getty Images)

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement that the United States cannot request the snapback of sanctions for the same reason.

“I will continue to do everything possible to ensure the preservation and full implementation of the JCPOA by all. The JCPOA remains a key pillar of the global non-proliferation architecture, contributing to regional security,” Borrell said.

The United States requested the sanction snapback on Iran a week after the UN Security Council failed to pass a U.S. resolution to extend arms embargo on Iran indefinitely. China and Russia voted against the resolution while eleven out of 15 members of the Security Council abstained including France, Germany, Britain, Belgium, and Estonia. Only the United States and the Dominican Republic voted for the resolution.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News on Aug. 21 that “every world leader, every one of my counterparts tells me that America is doing the right thing” with regard to not allowing Iran to obtain conventional weapons after the arms embargo expires.

“So for them not to stand up and tell the world publicly at the United Nations, yep, this is the right thing, its incomprehensible to me. To side with the Russians and the Chinese on this important issue at this important moment in time at the UN, I think, is really dangerous for the world,” he said.

The Trump administration, however “will make sure that the Islamic Republic of Iran doesnt have the hundreds of billion[s] dollars that would flow from being able to sell weapon systems to become an arms dealer around the world,” Pompeo said.

Why Did Europe Not Support Sanctions Snapback?

Iran missiles
A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran on September 27, 2017. (Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via Reuters)

Director of Iran Program and Senior Fellow, Frontier Europe Initiative at the Washington-based Middle East Institute Alex Vatanka told The Epoch Times in an interview that the European reaction “could have been prevented.”

“Everything that we knew for months in advance suggested that Russia and China certainly would veto it. And the Europeans were saying they will not support,” he said, adding the United States “does not have the legal right to do snapback,” because it left the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.

The Trump administration wants to kill the nuclear deal, Vatanka said, but the Europeans do not want to kill it because they believe there is no better alternative to it. Therefore they did not support U.S. efforts.

“Everyone knows that Iran is a player in the region that is often acting in a way that undermines stability in the Middle East,” Vatanka said, and the Europeans also know it.

“But the Europeans also know there are other countries in the Middle East that are acting like Iran and therefore the Europeans are taking more of a holistic and big picture view of all the countries in the region that are involved in the various conflicts,” not just Iran, Vatanka said. So Europeans believe that the JCPOA “was the best deal that could have been reached” and want to preserve it, he added.

“The Europeans can hope from their perspective” that after the election either President Donald Trump will change his policy toward Iran or Joe Biden will go back to the Iran nuclear deal, Vatanka said. “And then the Americans and Europeans can … get together and put pressure on Read More From Source

Show More

Related Articles