What is Germany’s position on JCPOA?

MNA | Mohammad Ghaderi: Sigmar Gabriel German Foreign Minister who is also one of the leaders of the Social-Democratic Party in the country, has recently held talks with members of the US Congress over what he calls “preservation of the JCPOA”.

The German foreign ministry wrote in a Twitter post, “Sigmar Gabriel met with members of Congress in Washington. Iran’s nuclear deal must not be broken and violated.”

Also in September this year and before the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Bloomberg announced in a report that Germany had more explicit positions on maintaining the nuclear deal with Iran compared with Britain and France. Even this news website claimed that Trump had asked the authorities of Britain and France to seek Germany’s assent to hold talks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) again. After a controversial announcement by the President of the United States about the nuclear deal, Gabriel apparently defended the nuclear deal, stating, “we won’t hesitate to persuade Congress to maintain the nuclear deal with Iran. We will consult on what can be done to change Iran’s positions on its policies in the Middle East.”

Although these positions by the German Foreign Secretary on defending the nuclear deal have led to a kind of optimism towards the Germans, the equation is far more complex than what it is supposed to be:

Sigmar Gabriel made a controversial speech in September, which, incidentally, did not reflect on many of our state-run media. He emphasized that his country, along with the United States and France, will do its utmost to secure Iran’s “commitment to all its obligations”, while supporting the JCPOA. These statements came at a time when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in several reports confirmed Iran’s full commitment to the nuclear accord. In February 2017, the German Foreign Minister supported Trump government’s approach towards Iran and stated that Congressional sanctions against Iran is fully understandable. In the course of the Joint Commission meeting on the JCPOA, Berlin, along with its three Western partners, the United States, France and Britain, didn’t recognize the numerous violations by the White House and the Congress as examples of violating the nuclear deal. In such circumstances, how can optimism about Germans’ approach towards the JCPOA be justified?

On December 5, the German Foreign Minister, criticized US policies (Trump’s government policies) an emphasized that in such a situation, Berlin would only think of its own interests. A simple decoding of Gabriel’s remarks suggests that Berlin looks at the JCPOA according to its own interests, just like Paris and London. Although in a recent report released in November this year, the volume of trade between Iran and Germany reached 2.9 billion Euros, and the Germans are specially regarding the business grounds in our country, but one should not forget the fact that only one strategic and security synergy between Germany and the three Western countries, can thoroughly change Berlin’s attitude towards the JCPOA. On the other hand, in the course of the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the members of the P1+5, Germany has practically proved that it doesn’t see standing against the “Washington-Paris-London Triangle” as synonymous with the fulfilment of its own “interests”, and thus it didn’t stand against the above triangle in the course of nuclear talks with Iran.

Another point is about Germany’s regional approach and Berlin’s look to our country’s missile power. German authorities have repeatedly made a link between “the JCPOA” and “change in Iran’s regional approach” and, on the other hand, have considered the missile power of the Islamic Republic of Iran unacceptable. German officials, like the US and French authorities, consider the containment of Iran’s missile power as one of their main regional goals, and believe in the policy pf carrot and stick towards our country. People like the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Sigmar Gabriel, argue that Iran’s missile power should be restrained in line with our country’s nuclear capability.

However, the main concern of the Germans is the way to implement this tactic. Berlin believes that the nuclear capability, missile power and regional approach of Iran should all be restrained at the same time. But it must be done in such a way that people don’t take it synonymous to the violation of the JCPOA. In this regard, the Germans believe in an apparently independent negotiation and a second consensus on Iran’s missile power. It should be acknowledged that Germany has not yet been able to adapt its “underlying approach” and its “superstructure” and apparent attitude to the missile capability of our country. This has led to controversial expressions and vague and paradoxical conducts by individuals such as Sigmar Gabriel: From consultations with the US Congress on maintaining the nuclear deal, to talks about Iran’s commitment to the JCPOA, or the need to restrain Iran’s missile power.

Obviously, in such a situation, any optimism about the independent conduct of Berlin regarding the JCPOA would turn to the Achilles heel of our foreign policy calculations. Basically the separation between the Germans and the other three Western players is a terrible strategic mistake, and it would consequently affect our policy towards Western countries. The various statements made by the Germans about Iran and the JCPOA are the best evidence for adopting a prudent approach towards Germany. Otherwise, a “sudden turn” or “change of position” by the German authorities would disrupt the calculations of our country’s diplomacy system.