(Persia Digest) - Robert Jervis, Professor of International Affairs at Columbia University, believes that the US withdrawal from the JCPOA is likely to be messy, if not unstable, with Europe doing quite a bit to maintain economic relations and Iran breaking some parts of the JCPOA but abiding by most of it, at least for a while.
Donald Trump has finally made good on his election campaign promise to quit the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal. Most countries have opposed his move, including the EU, China, and Russia. President Rouhani has announced that Iran will stay in the deal if the remaining signatories remain committed to it. But White House national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that "it's possible" there will be secondary sanctions imposed on European companies as a result of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. However, the EU is talking about a blocking statute to counter JCPOA secondary sanctions imposed on small and large European companies. But, Iran has asked for guarantees for the complete safeguard of Iranian interests in the JCPOA. Can the EU give guarantees to prevent secondary sanctions from impacting Iran’s trade with other countries?
Robert Jervis, Professor of International Politics at Columbia University and former President of the American Political Science Association, told Persia Digest: “It isn’t clear that the EU will be able to do this. On the one hand, Iran has made fairly strong demands on Europe. On the other hand, even if the European governments were willing to take on the US, many of the large corporations aren’t. And much as they resent it, the European governments know that they can’t afford a high level of conflict with the US. So the result is likely to be messy, if not unstable, with Europe doing quite a bit to maintain economic relations and Iran breaking some parts of the JCPOA but abiding by most of it, at least for a while”.
Some say that in leaving the JCPOA, Trump has in fact ignored his European allies. Jervis also acknowledges this and believes that the US withdrawal from the JCPOA widens the gap between Europe and the US. But is there another solution? Professor Jervis says: “The logical response would be for Europe to unite, but unfortunately that is impossible”.
This may create the impression that America is still the superpower and can manage the world. But Jervis is opposed to this, saying: “The US is so weak and disunited that it can’t have much of a world position”.
Nevertheless, like many other experts, he acknowledges that the US exit from the JCPOA will damage Iranian economy. Jervis adds: “Of course Iran never received as much benefit from the JCPOA as it expected, but even if Europe tries to stay in the agreement the Iranian economy is sure to suffer significantly”.
Will the US withdrawal from the multilateral agreement have actual, tangible implications for this country? Some talk about US isolation and discredit among other countries. Jervis commented to Persia Digest on the subject: “Hard to tell yet, but I think it reinforces the image of the Trump administration as unreliable and will make it harder for it to work with allies, and perhaps to bargain with adversaries (e.g., North Korea)”.