French Foreign Minister, Jean Yves Le Drian, spoke to the media recently about the never-ending conflicts concerning the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Le Drian, said: “This has to stop because Iran and – I say this clearly – is in the process of acquiring nuclear weapons capacity.” The implication behind his statement is that he is fully aware of the extent of Iran’s unscrupulous activities.
According to an analysis by Iran’s main opposition, The People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), this could be referring to Iran’s ongoing violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which includes the continuation of 20 percent uranium enrichment and the beginning of work on the production of uranium metal, which is one of the most important components in a nuclear weapon.
Iran has even said recently it may kick out international inspectors, even though a few officials have stated that they will be staying but will have their access limited to viewing any suspicious sites.
The French foreign minister realizes how serious Iran’s provocations are and that there is a high chance of further JCPOA violations yet he doesn’t necessarily place the blame just on the Iranian regime.
EU appeasement policy
Generally speaking, European policymakers still promote the idea that providing Iran with concessions in order to preserve the JCPOA is the best way to go. But this is a stupid position to take because it fails to consider the fact that by being pressurized in this way when Iran has not much leverage, Western powers would only be giving the go-ahead for the Iranian regime to take advantage of a stronger position in the future.
Unfortunately, moving from one US president to another has brought up the serious question about who may be in a position to challenge European policy.
Trump endorsed a maximum pressure strategy which is no longer going to happen. No one is yet sure about President Joe Biden’s strategy. He has shown so far that he is eager to return to the present nuclear deal. But he has also said that Iran should resume compliance first of all, but his foreign policy team has cast doubt on a quick return to the status quo.
The US under Biden may give permission to Iran to reopen an embassy in Washington but the Biden administration could help to legitimize the conciliatory policies that hold so much appeal for European allies despite Iran’s ongoing efforts to exploit them.
To make matters worse, the administration may be taking a risk if it delivers a message of support for the status quo just at the time when several European entities are beginning to challenge it.
Assadollah Assadi’s verdict may initiate a change in Iran-EU relations
Last week, a Belgian federal court confirmed a verdict regarding the terrorism case against Assadollah Assadi, who is the very 1st Iranian diplomat to face these sorts of charges. By continuing to acknowledge publicly the progress that maximum pressure achieved the US could give a push to those like Le Drian – who stay on the fence regarding the outrageous behavior of Iran.
Under Trump, Iran’s theocratic dictatorship was made to seem vulnerable all on its own. Under Biden, the US could increase that vulnerability considerably by getting suspicious European government to sign a policy that recognizes true diplomacy as a goal rather than a means to an end in dealing with Iran.
That sort of diplomacy may only be mutually beneficial when Iran has first stopped its escalation in nuclear activities and imposing further threats against Arab and Western lives and interests.
Those sorts of activities are a problem and must stop. US-led sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and other pressures are a response to that problem. This is how it should stay. Iran’s push toward malign behaviors must be the focus of Western policy, and until any impulsive activity has gone away completely it is not too much to accept that some European countries aren’t toeing the line.