Follow suite on Iran
Monday, November 12, 2018
The Telegraph of London, England
Although the EU, including Britain, is sticking to the nuclear deal unilaterally repudiated by President Trump, without America’s backing it is pretty much a dead duck. Since European companies that continue trading with Iran risk being hit by secondary U.S. sanctions, they are unlikely to keep doing so, despite promises of legal protection from Brussels.
Trump made no secret of his intention to tear up the agreement while campaigning for the White House and a steady succession of EU leaders have made their way to Washington in an effort to change his mind, but to no avail.
When the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the Iran deal was called, was agreed, there was always a need for caution. It was hailed as a triumph of enlightened diplomacy that made the world a safer place. Yet the Iranians, bolstered by greater oil revenues after sanctions were eased, have shown every sign of making the Middle East more dangerous, even if they have stuck to the specific agreement on nuclear arms development, which is questionable.
The collapse in the international common front on Iran is regrettable. But instead of trying to force a U-turn on Trump, the other signatories need to consider ways in which to respond to his — and Israel’s — objections to the deal.
What is often overlooked by those whose dislike of Trump is an all-consuming obsession is that many Iranians welcome his stand because they are desperate to see the end of the regime in Tehran. The deal was supposed to foster stability in the Middle East, help the people of Iran and encourage moderate forces in the country — but it has done none of this.
The money released from the ending of sanctions has been poured into supporting militia groups fighting proxy wars, such as the Houthis in Yemen and Hizbollah in Syria.
The new sanctions target banks and the Iranian military, whose influence may persuade the ayatollahs running the country to return to the negotiating table. Everyone needs to realize that this is now the only way forward.