By M.A. Saki

EU credibility at serious stake

January 13, 2019

TEHRAN - It has repeatedly been said that the European Union is adamant in its determination to safeguard the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

These words of assurance to protect the JCPOA without the United States have been frequently uttered by the EU, especially by its chief diplomat Federica Mogherini.

In her latest remarks posted on the European Council on Foreign Relations website, Mogherini said, “We Europeans cannot accept that a foreign power – even our closest friend and ally – makes decisions over our legitimate trade with another country.”

Europeans were promising to present their own mechanism, the so-called special purpose vehicle (SPV) by the start of 2019 to circumvent the Trump administration’s sanctions against Iran.

As a journalist I don’t know what Europeans, especially the E3 – Germany, France, and Britain which are signatory the JCPOA – are still doing, but one thing is clear: the Iranian people are losing their confidence of Europe and think that Europe either has no power or will to withstand the U.S. illegal demands to do business with Iran.

EU officials say that the SPV is a complicated mechanism to prepare. However, eight months have passed since Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the UN-endorsed nuclear agreement and declared the reimposition of sanctions against Iran.

Some argue that protests in France, a weakened Angela Merkel’s government in Germany, problems surrounding the Theresa May government over Brexit coupled with Washington’s pressure and differences between the EU members over how to deal with Trump’s White House in regard to the JCPOA have caused delays in presenting the SPV.

Some of these things are true but they will not excuse the EU not to abide by its commitments under the multilateral accord.

The EU, especially its heavyweight members, are facing a serious test. If Europe fails to decide about its business with Iran under pressure by a bullying Trump then it would not be an exaggeration to say that the European Union is a paper tiger.

European leaders must be aware of this fact that if they submit to Trump’s unlawful demands, their independence and even their business sovereignty will come under serious question. It that situation, no country can take the EU seriously.

At this sensitive juncture in history, especially at a time that Trump and his soldiers are against a powerful Europe and are pushing for the disintegration of the European bloc, an inaction will send an unreliable image of the EU to the world.

In fact, if Europe surrenders to the U.S. pressure it will unwillingly contribute to lawlessness and bullying tactics.

The JCPOA is litmus test for the EU to prove that it is a major global power and a law-abiding bloc otherwise it should bear the consequences of appearing weak in the face of recalcitrant Trump.

Now the credibility of the EU is at a serious stake. If it fails to guard its reputation and independence, history will judge it as impotent and shameful.

PA/PA

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