By Amir Mohammad Esmaeili

EU unable to pursue independent policy toward Iran: Italian geopolitical analyst 

September 22, 2020 - 22:0

TEHRAN - An Italian geopolitical analyst says since the European Union doesn't have an "autonomous army from U.S. control" it cannot pursue and independent foreign policy toward Iran and other important issues.

“The problem of Europe is its own subjection to NATO; as long as it does not have an autonomous army from U.S. control, Brussels will not be able to carry out a truly independent foreign policy. This applies to Iran as well as to other geopolitical dossiers,” Stefano Vernole tells the Tehran Times.

The following is the full text of the interview:

Q: Secretary Pompeo announced late on Saturday that the U.S. has reimposed UN sanctions against Iran, saying, "The United States expects all UN Member States to comply with their obligations to implement these measures fully." He also warned, “If UN Member States fail to fulfill their obligations to implement these sanctions, the United States is prepared to use our domestic authorities to impose consequences for those failures and ensure that Iran does not reap the benefits of UN-prohibited activity.” What is your comments on such remarks?

“The Islamic Republic of Iran plays a stabilizing role in one of the key areas of the planet.”A: I think it is the usual mafia method used by the United States in the past to punish countries that do not bow to the "Washington Consensus". Unfortunately, these are measures that have a very deleterious effect on the Iranian economy and the European nations themselves that are unable to trade with Tehran. It is true that the EU has put in place some measures to circumvent the sanctions, but so far they have proved ineffective; very few European companies are able to resist this pressure because companies risk both compromising their investments on the American market and suffering other types of retaliation (for example in financial transactions). It was clear from the start that one of the consequences of Trump's victory in the last presidential election would be an intensification of U.S. aggression towards Iran (the Zionist conditioning is evident); his new electoral campaign marks a further qualitative leap by extending economic pressure to Lebanon and intensifying it on Syria. In practice, the entire axis of Shiite resistance, including Iraq, is now again in the crosshairs. Mike Pompeo obviously represents the standard-bearer of this trend, the sign of continuity with the previous American administrations, with the influence of neocons and the deep state. From this point of view, Trump is nothing new.

Q: Some argue that these measures will lead to further isolation of the United States in the international community. What is your opinion?

A: I have some doubts about the isolation of the United States, by virtue of the still strong economic and cultural influence they possess, at least in the Western sphere. Indeed, this policy further compacts many countries towards Washington that were halfway between calls for NATO and the possibility of exploring new types of cooperation with Russia and China. Just think of the 5G issue in Europe, the Russian-German pipeline, the Navalny accident, or the Belarus elections. Much will depend on the Old Continent's economic stability, which, due to Covid-19, seems decidedly at risk; however, there is a lack of political subjects capable of interpreting the needs of European populations. It is true that this is also true in reverse. Russia and China are capitalizing on so many nations' consensus once subjected to American rule and now embracing multipolarity. In practice, that duopoly already in vogue during the U.S.-USSR Cold War has been re-proposed, whereby one is forced to take sides either side or side. I don't see the possibility of a third pole.

Q: The foreign ministers of three European countries parties to the nuclear deal reaffirmed their full commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 2231 in a joint statement in response to U.S. claims of returning the UN sanctions on Iran. How do you analyze their statement?

“The Revolutionary Guards, the Pasdaran, were instrumental in the military defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, which prevented the Wahabi contagion from spreading to Europe, Russia, and China."A: Well, let's take into account that Iran is an important partner for Europe, which is also fully respectful of the nuclear agreement. It is not just about business, as some might think, but also about geopolitical interests. The Islamic Republic of Iran plays a stabilizing role in one of the key areas of the planet; important Shiite minorities are present in all Arab countries and in Central Asia. The Revolutionary Guards, the Pasdaran, were instrumental in the military defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, which prevented the Wahabi contagion from spreading to Europe, Russia, and China. The problem of Europe is its own subjection to NATO; as long as it does not have an autonomous army from U.S. control, Brussels will not be able to carry out a truly independent foreign policy. This applies to Iran as well as to other geopolitical dossiers. Until then, your declarations of intent will be of little value.

Q: Following U.S. claims on the return of UN sanctions on Iran, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Saturday that he cannot take any action on a U.S. declaration that all UN sanctions on Iran had been reimposed because "there would appear to be uncertainty" on the issue. How do you assess this approach?

A: It is the reactivation of the request to Iran to suspend all activities related to nuclear enrichment, and the ban on imports of anything that could contribute to nuclear research or the development of nuclear weapons delivery systems. With this procedure, the arms embargo would be reimposed. The ban on Iran from developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons would bring targeted sanctions to dozens of individuals and entities. Countries would be urged to inspect shipments to and from Iran and authorized to seize any prohibited cargo. According to the sanctions "snapback," if a Security Council resolution to extend the reduction of sanctions on Iran is not adopted within 30 days, the UN sanctions should be reset. And so far, no resolution on this has been put to the vote. Guterres is likely buying time, hoping that a new president in the White House will rectify this sanctions policy, and the nuclear deal can still be saved. But we need to understand how much Iran still wants it, given the intensification of economic and military pressure in the region.

Q: What will be the United States’ next step against Iran?

A: Of course, the United States has done everything to blow the Iranian nuclear deal, but their hypocrisy is hardly surprising given that country's track record. At least until the end of the election campaign, Trump will continue to intensify the economic and military pressure, guaranteeing Israeli interests and trying to stand as a key man in the construction of the Arab NATO New Middle East (West Asia). All the recent agreements signed on the Palestinians' skin must be read as anti-Iranian moves. However, it is at the same time the historical moment in which an American president can prove to be more fragile because a possible misstep or a military failure could prove fatal for the purposes of his re-election to the White House. Therefore, I do not believe that Trump will go so far as to risk an open war against Iran; this also depends on the extent of the attacks conducted in Syria and Iraq by the axis of resistance against U.S. troops. However, what will happen after the U.S. elections in November is really difficult to predict; their outcome is still too uncertain.