EU will seek to preserve the JCPOA without US

EU will seek to preserve the JCPOA without US
ID : N-1663 Date : 2018/04/24 - 14:42

(Persia Digest) – In an interview with Persia Digest, Richard Murphy said: “Trump's nomination of Pompeo as Secretary of State and choice of Bolton as National Security Advisor do not signal his decision to withdraw from the JCPOA.”

Donald Trump will be deciding the fate of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the JCPOA, on 12 May 2018 and whether the US will decertify and withdraw from the multilateral agreement. Recently “The Washington Post” wrote that Trump will exit from the deal. But, “The Economist” writes that staying in the deal is also a possibility. The EU signatories to the deal have increasingly tried to keep and implement the JCPOA. Emanuel Macron and Angela Merkel are planning separate trips to Washington at the end of April to try and keep President Trump in the deal. A diplomatic source in Washington has told RIA Novosti that the EU has no plans to renegotiate the JCPOA with Iran. Keeping this in mind:

Persia Digest has conducted an interview on the future of the Iran nuclear deal with Richard Murphy who has retired after a 34-year career in the US Foreign Service. Between 1983 and 1989, he was assistant secretary of state for Near East and South Asian affairs.

You can read the interview here:

Are Trump’s recent decisions in appointing his new Foreign Minister and choosing John Bolton as National Security Advisor an indication that he may withdraw from the JCPOA? How will these US cabinet turnovers affect relations between Iran and the US in general, and the JCPOA in particular?

Trump's nomination of Pompeo as Secretary of State and choice of Bolton as National Security Advisor shows his preference for hard charging and hard line officials. These decisions do not signal his decision to withdraw from the JCPOA. He made explicit his personal dislike of that accord during his election campaign and often repeated that position since he came into office.

What lies behind EU reasons for keeping the JCPOA and their difference in behavior with Trump regarding the agreement?

I believe that the EU's reasons for keeping the JCPOA are both because they view it as the best possible result of their prolonged and intensive negotiations with Iran as well as their appreciation of the economic benefits it will bring to their exporters.

If Trump withdraws from the JCPOA, how will the EU respond? Will it align itself with Trump?

It is difficult to predict the EU response if Trump withdraws from the JCPOA. On balance I believe that they will seek to preserve the accord without US participation including exploring ways to improve its terms and duration.

The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has said those who say a US exit from the deal will send signals to North Korea that US commitments to its agreements cannot be relied upon are totally wrong; to the contrary, it will send the message that the US is ready for negotiations and will not accept a bad deal. She has stated: “A strong leadership towards Tehran will yield better results with Pyongyang.” How do you believe the Iran deal will affect talks with North Korea?

I am not able to predict North Korean reactions to a US withdrawal from the JCPOA.


Read more: 

► US concerns have nothing to do with the JCPOA


The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, has said: “Our enemies must know that if the JCPOA is overturned (albeit we do not pursue such a goal), our top officials can decide, under such special circumstances, to respond accordingly to those who withdraw from the deal.” Although Mr Salehi’s comments are not very lucid, but what is your opinion on a US withdrawal and the approach Iran should take? What options will Iran have?

As an initial step Iran will likely abandon seeking commercial deals with the US.

Stephen Walt, American Professor of international relations at Harvard University's John F Kennedy School of Government, has written in his latest article in “Foreign Policy” that a war between Iran and the US is not probable; but the danger is higher here than it is with a US-N Korea war. Should the US decertify and destroy the JCPOA multilateral agreement, what do you think are the chances of a military confrontation between Iran and the US?

The Middle East will likely see continuing proxy wars and not a direct confrontation between the US and Iran. As it has in the past, the US will do its best to restrain Israel from initiating a conflict with Iran.

Richard Murphy retired after a 34-year career in the US Foreign Service. He was posted to Salisbury, in the former Southern Rhodesia; Beirut, Lebanon; Aleppo, Syria; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Amman, Jordan. He joined the Council on Foreign Relations in NY after retirement in 1989. Amb. Murphy is a three-time recipient of the President's Distinguished Service Award and a two-time recipient of the State Department's Superior Honor Award.

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