Nov 5th, 2019, 03:41 PM

The Iran Nuclear Deal and New Global Alliances

By Muriel DeAragon
Iran Nuclear Deal reached in Vienna. Image Credit: European External Action Service - EEAS/Creative Commons
Iran's announcement on Tuesday to pursue uranium enrichment at Fordow and Natanz worsens political destabilization between the US and its allies, namely France

The global influence of the US is declining despite its strong economic and military international authority. Iran's state-televised announcement this past Tuesday to inject uranium gas into over 1,000 centrifuges is an attempt to put pressure on Europe to find a way around US President Donald Trump's sanctions. Trump's withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018 destabilized the economic and political positions of other signatories to the Nuclear Deal (France, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and Germany). Trump's blunt "America first" policies have put stress on America's European allies, especially France.

French President Emanuel Macron has been unsuccessful in trying to broker an agreement to ease sanctions that would please both Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. European allies continue to uphold the 2015 nuclear agreement despite Trump's diplomatic vanity. Macron remains hopeful that the US and Iran will be able to negotiate a deal:

"It's now up to the Iranians and the United States to seize these conditions and work together to relaunch momentum," said Macron to Reuters at the UN.  

France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have created INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) which allows European companies to bypass the dollar and Trump's sanctions in order to resume business with Iran. This alternative is barely the equivalent of putting a band-aid over the problem, but it nonetheless lets Iran know that Europe is trying.  

Iran talks at the EEAS. Image Credit: European External Action Service - EEAS /Creative Commons

Since the US's withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2015, Trump's sanctions have affected every global power that trades with or has economic ties to Iran. The US is putting pressure on these global powers to choose between business with the United States or with Iran. Most would choose to remain in the good graces of the US, but many countries depend on certain Iranian exports.

Amidst this tension, the P5+1 and EU signatories of the Iran Nuclear Deal have been playing the role of middlemen between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Donald Trump. According to some experts, the Uranium enrichment process that has begun at Iran's Fordow nuclear facility is still reversible. By doing this, Rouhani is putting pressure on Europe to form a better deal which he hopes will also coerce the US into easing sanctions. 

With French Armistice day approaching on November 11 to commemorate the allied powers and the end of the First World War, Macron will lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier at 11:00.  It is during this time that one should reflect on the historical relationship and importance of Europe's alliance among each other and with the United States.