Alwaght- The US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal will be remembered in the history of the international relations as a brazen example of the US violation of its international commitments for the generations to come. Although Washington is notoriously known for breaking its promises, the breach of the seven-party deal has showcased this American diplomacy’s feature to the world in an unprecedented way.
Despite the US exit from the agreement, also formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCOPA), the European signatories of it and Iran are focusing on ways to steer clear of its full collapse through negotiations with Tehran. The questions begin to rise as what kind of guarantees Iran should get from the Europeans to make sure that its interests are preserved. Can the JCOPA live without the US in it? And what type of policy should the Europeans adopt in the face of the increasing US pressures?
Seeking answers to all of these significant questions, Alwaght has conducted an interview with Professor Foad Izadi, the international affairs expert and the professor of US Studies Group at the University of Tehran.
Iran needs “solid guarantees” from the Europeans
Commenting on the fields of negotiation of the Iranian diplomats with their European counterparts after the US exit from the deal, signed in 2015 with the six world powers– the US, China, Russia, France, Britain, and Germany–, Professor Izadi said that we first need to take an overall view of the JCOPA.
“The JCOPA has a general formula. Iran accepts some limitations on its nuclear activities in exchange for relief of the Western sanctions that have been targeting the energy exports, banking, and trade sectors. Over the course of the past two years, Iran showed full adherence to all of its commitments mentioned in the nuclear accord, and the International Atomic Energy Agency eleven times confirmed Iran’s compliance with the deal’s terms,” he said.
Mr Izadi continued that just unlike Tehran which stayed fully committed to the agreement, the US from the outset failed to comply with what they promised to do according to the pact. Americans violated the 26, 28, and 29 articles of the JCOPA. And their infringement reached its peak when last week Trump declared that the White House will abandon it. So, the current situation is never advantageous to Iran’s interests and Tehran cannot bow to the huge sanctions of the West and at the same time fail to profit economically from the JCOPA.
At the present time, Iran, continued the expert, intends to make it clear to the Europeans that JCOPA is not implementable through words and what they need to do is that their pledges should not only remain in words. They need to take concrete steps towards preserving the Iranian interests guaranteed under the pact. Europe has to do its side of the commitments in practice, and need to prove that. The Europeans, for instance, need to present assurances to Iran that as they so far bought the Iranian oil, they will continue to do so in the future without any disruption, and that they should not withdraw from the responsibilities if the US re-imposes the ban on Iran. Moreover, if the US Department of Treasury puts strains on the private European banks to cease their dealings with Tehran, this should not set up obstacles ahead of the Iranian banking relations with them. Therefore, Europeans need to pursue the business with Iran via their semi-state banks and offer executive warranties.
Professor Izadi added that the European Union should look into reviving “blocking regulations” that were originally created in 1996 during Bill Clinton’s presidency to protect European companies doing business with Russia, Cuba, and Iran from the US embargo.
“If such guarantees are offered to Tehran, Iran can consider remaining in the deal. But if Europe’s guarantees are not implemented on the ground, then Iran should withdraw from the agreement. It is never logical for Iran to stay in a pact without interests and instead is sanctioned,” Mr Izadi maintained.
It is hard to save JCOPA with the US out
The Iranian expert noted that it is highly difficult to rescue the nuclear deal after the US pulling out because a majority of the sanctions that in the past targeted the Iranian economy were imposed by Washington. While Europeans are hopeful to save JCOPA without Washington, time will tell how much they can materialize their vows will be obvious in the near future,” he held.
He also suggested, "Iran should look at the dialogue with Europe with doubt and it is impossible to put full trust in Europe.”
Professor Izadi went on saying that the Europeans have immense interests in saving the deal. The two sides have commonalities in such areas as security and policy. They have to take it into the consideration that any confrontation between Europe and Tehran does not serve their interests.
“To conclude, if Europe offers no firm guarantees, Iran should withdraw not only from JCOPA but also from the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty). Because there will remain no basis to keep the deal commitments,” the Iranian professor ended.