Ever since Donald Trump pulled the US out of the international accord on May 8, citing security concerns, Europe has been struggling to save the deal and protect themselves from US sanctions on Iran.
The ministers for Foreign Affairs and Finance from all three European countries who signed the nuclear accord – Britan, France, and Germany – have all written to their US counterparts to confirm that they are committed to the deal and urge the US Treasury not to impose fines on EU firms trading with Iran.
Iranian officials have not been consistent about whether they believe the deal can be saved and have even threatened to walk away, so European leaders are concerned that if Iran withdraws from the deal it could “unsettle” the Middle East and that would be “disastrous”.
Iranian MP Reza Najafi refused International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requests to cooperate more, including snap inspections, while the standoff continues.
He said: “No one should expect Iran to go to implement more voluntary measures.”
On Monday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei ordered Iranian scientists to begin preparations for increasing Iran’s enrichment of uranium, something needed to make atomic bombs, in case the agreement fell apart.
France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that this move by Iran would be sailing close to a “red line”.
The Regime also told the IAEA that it had “tentative” plans to produce the feedstock for centrifuges, which are needed to enrich uranium and told Europe that they only had a few weeks to save the deal before Iran would withdraw.
On Wednesday, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, announced that they had already started work on a plant to build advanced centrifuges and that this would be fully operational by July.
He said: “After the supreme leader’s order we prepared this centre within 48 hours. We hope the facility to be completed in a month.”
Salehi also noted that Iran is far beyond the point of halting all uranium enrichment, as proposed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his speech about conditions for a new deal with Iran.
Will Iran scrap the deal?
The question on everyone’s lips is: will Iran pull out of the deal?
Simply, it’s very unlikely. The Iranian Regime is currently plagued by several crises from domestic unrest to US sanctions and if the mullahs want to remain in power they need international support. Thus, they can’t afford to alienate Europe.
The mullahs are only trying to appear tough in order to get a better deal and boost the morale of their repressive security forces, while still insisting that what they are doing is allowed under the framework of the nuclear deal. The Regime is vulnerable and Europe can easily get tough on them over human rights, terrorism, and any number of Iran’s malign activities without much blowback.