By Javad Heirannia

EU is likely to stick to JCPOA: Adib-Moghaddam

May 19, 2018

TEHRAN - Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Chair of the Centre for Iranian Studies at the London Middle East Institute believes that European Union is likely to stick to the JCPOA.”

Professor in Global Thought and Comparative Philosophies and Chair of the Centre for Iranian Studies at the London Middle East Institute, also adds that “This is indicative of the isolation of this U.S. administration on this issue, even among close allies.”

He adds that “This is a new configuration in the so called “west” which appears much more disunited and fragmented than in the past. I would assume the EU will protect European businesses from extra-territorial sanctions by the United States.”

Here is the full text of the interview:

Q: The U.S. violated the JCPOA by pulling out of it. What are the reasons behind this unilateral move?

A: Let me start by saying that we are entering a truly historic and dramatic period in world politics. It is a period beset with real dangers for the whole world. As I said in my first interviews for Tehran Times after the election in the United States: Donald Trump is the most dangerous man in recent human history. Supporting him means supporting chaos and war. His administration combines a form of sociopathy with a coarse and uneducated approach to politics that has been rarely seen in recent U.S. history. It’s a particularly vicious form of psycho-nationalism.

In light of this assessment, Trump does not really have a grand strategy. His approach is entirely reactionary. His administration is alarmed by the advances that Iran has made, in particular in Iraq and Syria. Within this geo-political constellation, the U.S. and its allies, in particular Israel, have quickly lost their ability to conduct their foreign policies with an iron fist. Suddenly, there are new facts on the ground. This U.S. President thinks in militaristic terms. So he finds it impossible to address these new realities with diplomacy. Instead, the Trump administration has been busy to scramble together an anti-Iranian front which finds itself on the wrong side of history.

Q: In regard to Trump's violation of the Iran deal, what are the obligations and responsibilities of the deal's other signatories?

A: In my previous interviews with Tehran Times I said that the European Union is likely to stick to the deal. This is a fact. Even the United Kingdom has broken from U.S. policies in that regard. This is indicative of the isolation of this U.S. administration on this issue, even among close allies. This is a new configuration in the so called “west” which appears much more disunited and fragmented than in the past. I would assume the EU will protect European businesses from extra-territorial sanctions by the United States. We saw similar dynamics at play when the Iran-Libya-Sanctions Act (ILSA) was introduced under the Clinton administration. Even then, European businesses continued to do business with Iran. It is central, then, that Iran continues the dialogue with the European Union beyond the JCPOA. Europe is finally carving out its own space in world history, and Iran should be cognizant of the opportunities that a European foreign policy brings about.  

Q: Why Trump try to reach a peace with North Korea and simultaneously violated the JCPOA?

The Trump administration does not see North Korea as a geo-political threat that can dominate the region. The issue with North Korea is purely about the nuclear factor. With Iran, it is about by far more. Iran is a regional power that acts beyond the control of the United States in a region that the U.S. has dominated for at least four decades now. There is oil, there is Israel, there is Islam and there is the Persian Gulf. The stakes are by far higher than on the Korean peninsula. Iran should strengthen its ties with regional countries, continue to reach out to Saudi Arabia and fortify the relationship between state and society. Now is the time to give Iranian society more freedoms, to pre-empt any effort to destabilise the country further. Let me add that cooperating more closely with the Iranian diaspora on the basis of common cultural projects is very important as well. As I said in previous interviews: The embassies need to be more active to that end.

Q: In a tactful reaction to Trump's Betrayal of Nuclear Deal, Iran said the survival of JCPOA highly depends on firm European guarantees. Since the EU's leverage is not strong enough to bring the U.S. back to reason, shall we count on their guarantees?

A: I think this U.S. administration will continue to provoke Iran and they will continue to try to hurt the country whenever and wherever they can. This situation will continue until the next elections in the United States. The only way to fortify the JCPOA and auxiliary business with Iran from these wild U.S. sanctions is through legal means. In the end, I don’t think it possible, however, for the United States to punish the rest of the world with sanctions. The country simply does not have the ability to do so. U.S. power is by far more confined than it appears. The danger of the Trump administration does not rest in the material power of the United States. The real danger is the pathological recklessness of their foreign policy conduct.

Q: What is the reason behind Israeli attack against Syrian forces soon after Trump's withdrawal from JCPOA?

A: Undoubtedly, the Netanyahu administration in Israel took advantage of the favourable international climate to launch the attacks. There is real nervousness in Tel Aviv about the situation in Syria, not least because of the occupied Golan Heights. In the near future, Israel as well will understand that it can’t escape the new realities of West Asia and that it can’t conduct its foreign policy in militaristic terms. The diplomats have to come out and they will slowly try to blend into the new security tapestry that the region is displaying. In this emergent constellation, the Netanyahu administration is increasingly unable to control the political developments in the region as the success of Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon demonstrates. The Israeli state has lost its ability to harass surrounding countries into submission. Perhaps this will yield a renewed realisation within Israeli society that it is a part of this complex region and that it has to act accordingly. There are many forces within the country that are working towards that end.

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