Europeans advance grouped against headwinds over Iranian case

German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass (center), surrounded by his French counterparts, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and British, Dominic Raab, on June 19 in Berlin.

Together in adversity. Germany, France and the United Kingdom ("E3") displayed their unity on Friday, June 19, in the Iranian dossier, while the nuclear agreement (JCPoA) they are trying to save seems more threatened than ever. At the end of a meeting in Berlin, the foreign ministers Heiko Mass, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Dominic Raab sent a message of firmness and openness to the attention of the other actors in the dossier, in the form of a statement. Their objective: to prevent a new unilateral coup by the United States, which would definitively condemn the JCPoA in the fall.

For the first time, the three countries explained that they would not support a possible American attempt to snapback. The phrase refers to a reinstatement of UN sanctions against Iran before the implementation of the agreement five years ago. This one "Would have serious consequences for the United Nations Security Council", estimates the press release. However, the American escalation is confirmed, while the policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran has not produced results. On the contrary, since the spring of 2019, Tehran has not ceased, in stages, to evade its obligations under the JCPoA.

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The E3 countries hope to provoke a ministerial meeting with Iran, following the launch in January of the dispute settlement mechanism provided for in the nuclear deal. They are still calling on Tehran to return to the JCPoA framework, despite the withdrawal of the United States in 2018. On the other hand, in order to give a guarantee of openness in Washington, the Europeans recognize that the simple lifting of the embargo on conventional weapons, which expires in October, cannot be accepted. This "Could have major implications for regional security and stability", says the text, therefore taking the Americans' word at their top priority. A particularly unwelcome position in Tehran. Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized E3 countries for being in a Tweet on Friday "Accomplices of Trump and Netanyahu, not in a position to give advice to Iran."

Precarious balance position

"The common thread is the unity of the E3s, who are on the move and set the tempo and the tone, we explain at Quai d'Orsay. There were questions after Brexit. We have seen the maintenance of unity, of European solidarity, including when it does not overlap with American positions. " But the equilibrium position that the E3s claim to embody is precarious. The maneuvers in Vienna, since the beginning of the week, within the framework of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have illustrated this.

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