August 17, 2015 | Quote
Can the US Trust Europe to Punish Iran If It Violates the Nuclear Deal?
Among his rationales for opposing the nuclear deal with Iran, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said that he did not trust the three European Union partners to punish Iran should it violate the terms of the accord that offers the Islamic Republic sanctions relief in exchange for scaling back its nuclear activities.
The New York Democrat’s assertion served as a reminder that while Washington has been the driving force behind the deal, which was reached July 14 between Iran and six world powers, the agreement is an international one. Its implementation, therefore, will be determined in part by the foreign policies and interests of Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia.
“It is reasonable to fear that once the Europeans become entangled in lucrative economic relations with Iran, they may well be inclined not to rock the boat by voting to allow inspections” that would bring about renewed sanctions, Schumer wrote in an Aug. 6 statement.
European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, vowed to renew sanctions if Iran fails to comply. But with two of the three EU partners suffering from stagnant economies and rising unemployment, many share Schumer’s skepticism on whether this will actually happen.
“The sanctions are toast,” said Emanuele Ottolenghi of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a right-leaning think tank. Britain, France and Germany, he said, “are in no condition, economically speaking, to agree to implement sanctions once they are lifted.”
Even if they agree to lift such sanctions, the deal’s terms mean that such punitive steps would not apply to contracts signed before the sanctions’ re-introduction, Ottolenghi said, noting: “The result is a rush in Europe to sign contracts now, even if they are not immediately applied, just to make them sanctions-proof.”
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