A year and a half ago everyone knew that Iran was in breach of the nuclear deal. So why only now have the UK, France, and Germany triggered the Iran Nuclear deal dispute resolution process?
When President Trump gave his speech in Riyadh in March 2017, he made it clear that he had the agreement of the Middle East states to oppose Iran, a country that funds terror in the region. He mentioned Iran about a dozen times in his speech, far more than any other country.
A year later Germany, France, and the UK were hanging on, fighting to preserve the Iran deal.
But they had a lot invested in projects in Iran for the supply of major infrastructure.
Those European deals were all done when the Iran agreement was in place. But it raised the question over the motives of the Europeans who wanted to preserve the Iran agreement. They knew their financial stake was at risk.
Making Hay While The Sanctions Bite
One can be pretty sure that Trump knew of the consequences for European investment if the USA withdrew from the Iran agreement and imposed sanctions that the Europeans had to follow sooner or later. And that he knew that the US would benefit from the Europeans’ losses.
Of course, with Iran’s declared intentions in the region, it makes one wonder why the Europeans invested so much in what was probably going to turn out badly in the end?
And it also makes one wonder why the Europeans didn’t see the writing on the wall with the Riyadh speech, and make preparations to pull back from heavy investment in Iran.
Iran Nuclear deal dispute resolution process
The news yesterday was that Britain, France and Germany have triggered the Iran Nuclear deal dispute resolution process.
Depending on how that pans out, they could encourage the UN to impose sanctions on Iran again.
Triggering the process has been described as an action taken more in sorrow than anger but in recognition that Iran might be less than a year away from having the expertise to develop a nuclear bomb.
Maybe the decision was taken more in sorrow than in anger. But sorrow over what? Sorrow over a confrontation with Iran? That was always on the horizon. Maybe it is over the lost investments in Iran’s infrastructure?
On the bright side for Britain, France, and Germany, maybe they have wound down their deals and minimised their exposure and can afford to do what they should have done a year and a half ago.
The previous Administrations before President Obama’s Administration kicked the can down the road. The Obama Administration sealed the Iran nuclear deal.
The Trump Administration says it was a bad deal because the Iranians had acted and were continuing to act in bad faith. They say Iran has continued to enrich Uranium secretly and was playing the West for fools.
Netanyahu thinks similarly. Of course Israel has to deal with Hezbollah on its border with Syria, and Hezbollah is financed by Iran. The judgement of the Israelis is partially formed by that reality.
Protests Inside Iran
Iranians have been on the streets protesting for months. They complain that their living standards have worsened because of the actions of the regime. With the downing of the Ukrainian airliner the regime is on the defensive. That has given renewed energy to the protesters, and who knows what the tipping point is? We could read tomorrow about regime change or brutal repression. Either is possible.
So where is it all heading? Will sanctions make the Iranian regime fall? If they do, will it happen before Iran gets a bomb?