EU moves closer to China and Russia over Iran

By Sumantra Maitra
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 18, 2017
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In a remarkable scenario, United States finds itself in total global isolation with regards to the Iran nuclear deal. For example, China has called on it to continue its commitment to the deal, after Donald Trump gave a speech declaring this was not in America's national interest.

The Chinese foreign ministry described the deal as important in ensuring international nuclear non-proliferation and, in particular, peace in the Middle East. It also called on U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss further implementation of the deal, signed between Iran and six major powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.S., and coordinated by the EU.

Germany, France and U.K., despite differences over Brexit, are firmly united on the Iran deal, issuing a joint statement defending it. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned that no one state could dismantle an international agreement, that was not of a bilateral nature, and especially one that was working.

In a remarkable show of solidarity, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May together urged the U.S. Congress and the administration to reconsider the decision, keeping in mind the long-term implications.

In a simultaneous statement, Russia's deputy foreign minister described the America move as disturbing. There hasn't been so much unity among the EU powers and Russia since the lead up to the Iraq invasion in 2003.

The biggest criticism, of course, came from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. In a live television address, he said, "No president can revoke an international deal," maintaining optimistically that Iran will continue to honor its commitments under the deal until its national interests are satisfied. However, if one day its interests were seen as not being served, Iran would not hesitate for one moment to respond, although Rouhani didn't specify what that response might be.

For the moment, Iran's attitude is to continue with the deal as it is recognized by the other signatories apart from the U.S.

The fundamental idea that Iran is benefitting from the nuclear deal, and/or that any Iranian nuclear program threatens other powers are of course flawed. The deal is under strict regime check by several powers.

And what Trump should be bearing in mind is that it is also a surefire way of ensuring Iran doesn't turn into another North Korea. The fact that Iran can now pursue its energy needs peacefully without having to weaponize its program, is because the fundamental issue was one of deterrence, which was off the table as soon as the U.S. joined in as a signatory.

The Iranian regime is obviously not going to attack any other power, such as Saudi Arabia, protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella, and supported by nuclear Pakistan, or Israel, itself a nuclear power. Iranians are not irrational. The logic of Iran pursuing nuclear weapons was exactly similar to North Korea. Iran wants to survive and not suffer the fate suffered by either Iraq or Libya.

Naturally, recent events raise questions as to whether the Trump administration has now completely reversed itself from the campaign promises of no intervention abroad, and is activating a full neoconservative foreign policy.

The latest Trump speech will alienate allies, strengthen the anti-Iranian hawks in Washington D.C., and overall jeopardize America's international standing.

Most importantly, however, as the German foreign minister warned, it will drive the EU towards China and Russia. For any American strategist, that must be an ironic prospect. To deal with Iran, arguably a rogue state, U.S. now stands opposed to all the major powers in the world.

In essence, the United States, in regard to the Iran deal, has now become the rogue power.

Sumantra Maitra is a columnist with For more information please visit:

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors only, not necessarily those of

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