Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Europe and the Iranian situation

Iran announced yesterday it intends surpass the uranium stockpile limit set under the 2005 nuclear agreement. They want to do it by 27 June.

Obviously, this is no good news. It brings the region to a new level of tension. For Europe, it makes the EU’s political position on Iran untenable.

Actually, the European position had already reached a dead end. Now, that is indisputable.  

Today, Federica Mogherini is on her way to Washington. I do not know what she will bring to the discussions with Mike Pompeo and Jared Kushner, the trusted son-in-law of President Trump. But she has no room left. On one side, she is confronted with an Administration that is determined to further tighten the sanctions already in place against Iran. Not to mention, of course, the additional military deployments to the Gulf region. On the other side, she sees a regime and a leadership that are placing themselves against the wall, when the wise move would have been to remain committed to the implementation of the nuclear agreement.

In my opinion, Mogherini, on behalf of the EU, has no choice but to be frank and direct. Direct means diplomacy with clear words. Here, the message should be that all sides must show restraint and accept to return to the negotiating table. EU and China, with the support of Russia, could be the conveners of such a negotiation.

On her return from Washington, Mogherini should also travel to Beijing and Moscow. Before that, she could meet the UN Secretary-General. That would send an appropriate signal. And it is something the UN needs.

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