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Will the European Union Sanction the Khomeiniist Regime?

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Or will the desire for short-term profits prevail?

By The Free Iranian Staff
Islamic regime’s foreign minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif (Left) accompanied by Luxembourgish foreign minister, Jean Asselborn

In the aftermath of Tehran’s announcement last week that it would begin enriching uranium to level above those limits which it agreed to under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, the JCPOA, calls are mounting in Europe for EU sanctions on Tehran to be re-imposed.

Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said today that “We want to preserve the (deal), but Iran must finally return to its commitments. Otherwise we will reserve the right to use all mechanisms specified in the deal.” Maas was referring to the “snap back” process contained in the JCPOA, which allows for previous UN sanctions against the regime to be reinstituted if Tehran is judged to be noncompliant. Any of the six signatories to the JCPOA (the USA, UK, France, Germany, Russia & China) can request the UN’s Security Council to judge on Iran’s compliance status.

For now, though, the EU is still wavering, and states that it will wait for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to report on Tehran’s latest nuclear developments. Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign minister who was a key formulator of the JCPOA, still seems to want to try to preserve EU-Tehran relations, and trade. The EU emphasized its “full commitment to the agreement that remains crucial for our security, even if it’s increasingly difficult to preserve it,” Mogherini said. She added that EU cabinet ministers did not discuss sanctions at their meeting today, but that it was becoming “more and more difficult” to save the deal. She added that “we might have a Joint Commission meeting (of the six JCPOA signers) in the coming days.” That meeting is tentatively scheduled for next week, in Vienna.

Luxembourg, on the other hand, has already come out strongly against resanctioning Tehran. “Sanctions, sanctions, sanctions. We’re not going to solve the problem like that,” its foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, stated. The small nation, known for its banking industry, holds many of Tehran’s foreign deposits, and has aided the regime to skirt paying compensation to victims of terrorist attacks.

When the United States withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, the EU tried to maintain trade relations with the Khomeiniist regime by creating the INSTEX exchange system, but European companies largely withdrew from Iran for fear of losing access to the American market. Regime officials subsequently declared their frustrations with, and disappointment in, the Europeans.

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