Trump presented an ultimatum to the European partners: either to jointly amend the terms of the nuclear deal with Iran, or the US will withdraw from this treaty. De facto, this in any case will mean the failure of the agreement, as it will meet the opposition of Tehran. The only question is whether Europe will go about America or remain firm in defending the deal, which will bring her position closer to Russia.
Donald Trump again puts the European Union ahead of a difficult dilemma. Germany intends to consult with EU partners and discuss a common European approach to the US demand to "fix" a nuclear deal with Iran, the German Foreign Ministry said on Saturday. But they stressed that they intend to support "the full implementation of the agreement on the atom."
"The European Union took note of Donald Trump's statement on the Iranian nuclear deal. As a first step, we agree on an overall assessment of this statement with the representatives of Eurotroy and other EU member states. We remain committed to the full and effective implementation of the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, "the European External Relations Service said in a statement.
On Friday, Trump extended the regime for lifting sanctions against Iran, thus maintaining the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JFAP) for the Iranian nuclear program (INP). However, strange as it may seem, this does not mean that the American president abandoned his aspirations to disrupt the Iranian nuclear deal. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Ryabkov stressed that the extension of the regime of lifting sanctions from Iran is "nothing more than cosmetics", therefore, this step should not be overestimated
And the point is this. First, Trump never confirmed the implementation of the agreement by Iran: "I said that I will not confirm the fulfillment of the nuclear deal, and I did not confirm it." Secondly, he demanded that "key European countries join the US in correcting significant shortcomings in the deal, in opposing Iranian aggression and in supporting the Iranian people." That is why he went on to extend the regime of lifting sanctions from Iran, in his own words, for the last time, giving Europe the "last chance" to correct "the monstrous shortcomings of the agreement" with Tehran. And to this he gave the Europeans exactly 120 days, for which the extension was carried out. If the agreement is not corrected, the US "will no longer postpone the imposition of sanctions."
Third, along with all this on Friday, Washington imposed sanctions on 14 Iranian individuals and legal entities, including against the head of the judicial power of Ayatollah Sadik Larijani. Earlier, the US had already introduced anti-Iranian sanctions measures in February and August of the year 2017, which then expanded, and the last such expansion took place in late October.
In this regard, Ryabkov stressed that Trump's statements on the VHPP "justify the worst expectations", since the US is probably "headed for scrapping the agreement on Iran" and "reinforcing the ultimatum" in these issues. He added that Russia calls on the international community to consolidate efforts to protect the nuclear agreement with Iran.
What does Trump want?
From the words of Trump himself, we can conclude that he offers an ultimatum of three options. The first is to make corrections to the very nuclear deal with Iran. As key such "corrections", he called Tehran's permission for international inspectors to conduct sudden checks on any Iranian nuclear facilities, to impose restrictions on the INP of an indefinite nature (most of them expire in the next decade), recognition of Iran's nuclear and missile program as "inseparable" , as well as an indefinite demand that the IRI "never even come close to possessing nuclear weapons."
It is clear that this option is absolutely unattainable. The point is that to make any changes in the treaty, it is necessary for all of its sides to agree, and they are, in addition to Americans and Europeans, also China, Russia and, in fact, Iran. Even if in Brussels they go to meet Washington, then it is unlikely that this can be expected from Moscow, Beijing and especially Tehran. The latter has already accused the US of trying to disrupt the nuclear deal, and also considered the actions of the Trump regime "hostile and illegal" that "crossed all permitted boundaries" and are "a violation of international law and bilateral and international obligations." The Iranians promised a "serious reaction" to Washington's actions.
The second option, which follows from the statements of Trump, looks no less ridiculous. He proposes the conclusion of a separate agreement between the US and the EU on the deal with Iran. The meaning of the treaty is to introduce limits outside the SVPD, violation of which Tehran will be accompanied by an automatic cancellation of the deal and the restoration of the sanctions regime against the IRI. Touching these "red lines" should, above all, the Iranian nuclear and missile program.
From a purely formal point of view, the chances for implementation of such a scheme are greater, because there is no need for the consent of any other players. But only the conclusion of such a separate agreement will be virtually equivalent to the destruction of the SVPD, so they will simply contradict each other. This is exactly how a similar step will be taken by Iran.
The most realistic is the third option, the embodiment of which, apparently, is waiting for Trump, is the way out of the nuclear deal with Iran.
"This is an attempt to destroy a multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran," Viktor Olevich, an American political analyst, told VZGLYAD. - Even during the election campaign, Trump constantly in harsh tones criticized the nuclear deal, saying that it does not take into account the national interests of the United States and promising to abandon it. When he became president, he was given to understand that it was impossible to get out of the deal unilaterally. Since the deal is multilateral, this step will be misunderstood by the world community, will cause serious reputational damage to Washington, including among its closest allies in Europe, "he said.
That's why the US administration decided to act not directly, but by provocations against Tehran, pressure on its allies in order to consistently destroy the nuclear deal, Olevich said. That is, in this way the US will share the blame for disrupting agreements with Europeans.
"The Trump administration wants the Europeans together with them to demand these changes, and then, when Iran refuses to accept them, it turns out that the United States and Europe are already acting as a united front,
- the interlocutor explained.
In addition, such a plan, Olevich did not rule out, may allow Trump to outplay opponents of the withdrawal from the SVDS in the United States, whose influence is very large. So, for example, in October, after the statement that Tehran does not comply with the terms of the treaty, the US president suggested that Congress consider the restoration of the sanctions regime. However, the congressmen did not want to take responsibility, passing the pass back to Trump.
The European Union finds itself in a political impasse
Acting in his favorite harsh and aggressive manner and, in fact, resorting to open blackmail, Trump is driving the European countries into a political impasse. While they managed to get rid of common phrases, they say, they took note, we will discuss together, in fact we are committed to an agreement, etc. However, Europe still has to make a decision. And this is no longer a vote in the UN General Assembly on US speculation about the status of Jerusalem, the rates here are much higher.
Trump already stated that states that refuse to support the US in this matter "are against the people of Iran and all peace-loving countries of the world", as well as "support the nuclear ambitions" of Tehran. This, of course, is purely rhetorical rhetoric, but the Iranian issue really has great significance for the US president and the EU's demarche on this direction can be taken very sharply. So, it can really entail a serious deterioration of both political and economic relations of America with Europe, which, naturally, carries real risks for the latter.
In such circumstances, the chances that the EU will succumb to US pressure are quite large. "Until now, the EU has not demonstrated a special capacity for independent foreign policy and has acted against its own interests. Assuming that now this will cause some serious reaction, but discontent, I would not. Trump tells them what to do, and they will probably do it, "Kirill Koktysh, assistant professor at the Department of Political Theory at MGIMO University (U), told the newspaper VIEW.
"Everything here will depend on how much the Europeans have the will to independence. And here the difficulties begin, because not all Europeans want this independence and are ready for it. In addition, there is no direct conflict with the United States for any of them, "the leading researcher at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Igor Maksimychev, said in a comment to the VZGLYAD newspaper.
But there is another side to the coin. Satisfaction of Trump's requirements in any scenario will lead to the termination of the SVPD in its present form. And such a scenario for the European Union is also pretty unpleasant. And there are a number of good reasons for this.
"Europeans are unhappy with Washington's position, as the positive that has been achieved by joint efforts breaks down. This deal is important because the Middle East region for Europe may be the most important non-European region, on which it depends a lot, including on the internal situation in the EU. It would be profitable for the European Union to somehow help calm the situation in this region, "Maksimychev said.
In addition, this is fraught with serious image losses for the EU, because the withdrawal from the deal, which he also promoted, will mean that it is impossible to negotiate with Europeans about anything, "Dmitry Abzalov, president of the Center for Strategic Communications, told VZGLYAD.
Recently, Europeans actively developed economic cooperation with Iran, went out to local markets, Abzalov said. After the lifting of sanctions, many representatives of European companies (for example, Airbus) came to Iran immediately. They concluded deals and contracts, carried out joint projects, and if Europe now leaves the agreement, it will simply lose contracts, money, he explained.
Proceeding from all this, the chances that Europeans will still decide to show steadfastness and show the teeth of the United States also exist. "The Europeans are trying, as they can, to resist this American pressure. Europe wants to implement these agreements to the full, believes that Iran is completely subordinate to the provisions of these agreements, and this benefits both the Middle East and stability in the world as a whole, "Viktor Olevich said.
Russia can benefit from the anti-Iranian adventures of Trump
But who can suddenly be the winner of the trampovskih multi-way, so this is Russia. By itself, the possibility of the collapse of the Iranian nuclear deal for Moscow, of course, is unpleasant, since this is largely the brainchild of the Russian Federation, but there are a number of positive points in this.
Adherence to its obligations against the backdrop of the volatile position of the US and the EU will positively affect the image of Russia in the international arena. In addition, now, even in the context of the UWP, there are a number of international restrictions on economic cooperation with Iran, for example, in the military sphere. The collapse of the agreement through the fault of the US may well give a formal reason for ignoring these restrictions. In addition, all this inevitably will further push Tehran to strengthen economic and political relations with Moscow. In fact, this will finally consolidate the formation of the triangle Russia-China-Iran in the East.
The competition on which after the conclusion of the nuclear deal and the arrival of Western business in Iran has increased, said Dmitry Abzalov. For example, if Iranians used to buy Russian planes, now they began to buy American and European aircraft, there were refusals of Russian contracts. If Europeans and Americans now leave the SVDP, this will strengthen the positions of Russian companies, because they will prove themselves as much more consistent and reliable partners, the expert said.
If the EU refuses to participate in the anti-Iranian adventures of the United States, this will be a new rapprochement between Russia and Europe. Certain prerequisites for this were observed already after the Americans decided to extend their sanctions against Russia to European companies participating in Russian projects, for example, in the Northern Stream - 2.
"In this case, there will be a new track for negotiations with the EU, which can be jointly defended, a new unifying theme," Abzalov said, adding that this topic will be much more reliable than the others due to wider international support. In addition, the Euro-Atlantic partnership will crack at the seams, there may be a situation when Washington will be isolated, for example, in the Security Council, the interlocutor added.