Europe has repeatedly made clear that they want to remain a party to the deal, otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but this has become a more difficult position to defence as the Iranian Regime continues to launch ballistic missiles in violation of the UN Security Council Resolution that enshrines the deal.
Last week, both France and the United Kingdom requested closed-door discussion at the UNSC after Iran test-fired a ballistic missile with a range capable of hitting Europe on December 1.
Of course, Iran denies that they violated the resolution, which replaced earlier UN resolutions on Iran, claiming that it only refers to missiles “designed” for nuclear warheads and that their ballistic missile programme is purely defensive. But what ballistic missile programme could ever be considered purely defensive? And does it matter that the missile is capable of carrying nuclear warheads if the Regime claims it was accidental?
Donald Trump, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and US Defence Secretary James Mattis all say that this was a clear violation of the resolution, even if the mullahs might use semantics to argue their way out of it.
So how can Europe continue to support Iran?
After all, France and the UK already raised the issue of Iran’s firing of shorter-range missiles, which carried the slogan “Death to America”, into eastern Syria in September. While back in the spring, the UK, France, and Germany, all three European signatories to the JCPOA, argued unsuccessfully for the EU to bring sanctions against Iranian individuals or groups linked to the missile programme.
The E3, as they are sometimes known, tried to raise their concerns directly with Iran, sending senior officials, including UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, to Tehran, but this didn’t work, with one senior official suggesting that Iran had flat-out refused “to talk ballistics”.
Now, the US has made a series of 12 demands on Iran in order to secure a new nuclear deal. These include restrictions on the country’s missile programme, an end to the enrichment of uranium, and the cutting of ties to terrorist proxies like Hezbollah and the Houthis.
Europe needs to start following the US’s example, abandon any hope of saving the nuclear deal, and enforce sanctions against the Regime. Appeasement of the mullahs is a failed policy that only helps to keeps a dictatorship in power and denies the true wish of the Iranian people for regime change.