Uncertainty remains over Europe’s response to US sanctions on Iran

  • Petr Boháček
  • 10.5.2018 16:52

Transatlantic relations remain in uncertainty as the European Union considers its response to the United States withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the 90 and 120-day wind down periods for the reintroduction of US sanctions on Iran.

The EU, including the Visegrad Four countries, called for the upholding of the multilateral deal as Iran is hoping to pursue its parties, especially Europe, to provide economic incentives to make up for the lost economic potential due to US action. This will require strong political and financial commitments. Furthermore, the question remains whether US sanctions will hit Italian, French, German or Spanish companies doing with Iran business that amounted to around €20 billion in 2017, among them being Total, Renault, Siemens or Airbus. The EU could potentially restore the blocking regulations used in 1996 to shield EU entities from US sanctions on Cuba on the grounds of protecting European sovereignty. With the US imposing tariffs on aluminium and steel imports on the EU (currently suspended until 1 June) on national security grounds, such a response would seem appropriate. The EU appears inclined to adopt a tougher stance towards the US amid the pronounced value-based diversion between Brussels and Washington, especially after Israeli and Saudi lobby outperformed the strong diplomatic offensive undertaken by Macron, Merkel and May in recent weeks. Transatlantic relations will weaken ahead of the key July NATO Summit.

About author: Petr Boháček

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