Shortly before officials from Iran and the other signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action met on Tuesday to discuss how to save the deal, the former vice-president of the European Parliament Alejo Vidal-Quadras penned an op-ed calling for the dismantling of the deal altogether.
Vidal-Quadras wrote that it was too early to see whether the informal meetings would accomplish anything, which is still true, but he seemed to agree with the US’s assessment that there would be no breakthrough because the regime is still refusing to comply with the deal that they’ve been openly defying for at least two years and that the US said they were violating back in 2017.
Even Iran’s nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi has said that these talks weren’t terribly valuable to forthcoming negotiations, although he did again claim that the US violated the deal by leaving it in 2018 and reimposing sanctions. The US said that sanctions would remain in place until Iran complied with the deal. It’s a Catch-22 situation.
Vidal-Quadras wrote: “When one looks closely at the Iranian regime’s behaviour during this period of elevated tensions, it is fairly easy to conclude that the US administration would be better off sticking to its guns and insisting upon Iran’s full and verifiable compliance with the JCPOA as a precondition for any relief from economic sanctions… The mission of the European Union, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom should… be to apply diplomatic pressure on the Iranian regime to stop its nuclear blackmail.”
He advised that European signatories focus on the JCPOA’s deficiencies that are shown here and not seek to blame Iran’s violations on the US withdrawal because, although their violations were more public after that, they were still happening beforehand. He cited that Iran was quickly able to return to the level of nuclear activity occurring before the deal, likening it to flipping a switch rather than building up gradually.
Vidal-Quadras wrote: “For so long, the EU has turned a blind eye to the regime’s malign activities, especially regime terrorism in Europe, and only focused on JCPOA. The conviction of Asadullah Assadi, a regime’s diplomat, in Belgium court, on charges of a terror plot in Paris is the last example. As they finalize their strategy for forthcoming negotiations, the JCPOA’s European signatories should focus on whether that strategy holds the regime to account for all its malign activities, including its state-sponsored terrorism, widespread human rights abuses, ballistic missiles program, as well as attempts to acquire nuclear weapons.”