Germany and the puzzle of JCPOA

Iranian Diplomacy  | Hanif Ghaffari: The current dispute raised between senior German officials over Iran nuclear deal can be analyzed in different dimensions as reported by Handensblatt, the German business newspaper, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas recently mentioned that Europe and the U.S. “have been drifting apart for years” and urged Europe to “assume our equal share of responsibility” in order to “form a counterweight when the U.S. crosses the line,” pull “our weight when America retreats … [and] start a new conversation.” Among his bolder suggestions on how to do this, he came with the suggestion of an independent system of financial transactions that would protect European companies seeking to do business with Iran.

A simple review on Mass’ remarks reveals the importance of his argument about the necessity of creating an “independent system of financial transactions”, which would provide the European companies with a risk-free environment for holding business ties with Iran. Such an independent payroll system is one of the most important prerequisites for EU authorities to remain committed to the content of the nuclear deal. However, it seems that Merkel wasn’t really happy with this rational suggestion by Heiko Mass.

Right after her Foreign Minister statements, Merkel reacted to his words and said that Mass those were his “personal article,” rather than the government’s position. She also emphasized that security cooperation with the U.S. was an important element of trans-Atlantic relations.

“On the question of independent payment systems, we have some problems in our dealings with Iran, no question,” she said. “On the other hand, we know that on questions of terrorist financing, for example, SWIFT is very important.”

The emergence of behavioral and verbal paradoxes between German officials over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action indicates that they aren’t determined about being committed to the nuclear deal. At the end of her April visit to Trump (shortly before the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA), Merkel stated controversial words about Iran nuclear deal.

Pointing to Iran’s missile capability, she noted that Iran continues to develop its missile program as it is not a part of the JCPOA, which is sharply criticized by the United States. She went on saying that the Europe stays besides the United States in restraining Iran’s activities in the region, including Syria and Lebanon.

As we can see, in her statements, Angela Merkel emphasized that “limiting Iran’s regional power and Iran’s missile capability” should be included in the context of the JCPOA, and then it can be negotiable! And afterwards, at the very early days of Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Angela Merkel explicitly insisted that Germany does not intend to confront with the United States (as the Europe’s ally) on the nuclear deal and its fate.

On the other hand, “Iranophobia” is the common denominators of Western officials, and these politicians have sought to exacerbate this psychological game by forcing Iran to accept the West’s conditions on limiting its regional and missile capabilities; a plan that the Islamic Republic of Iran has monitored and prevented from realization.

After the conclusion of the nuclear deal, the German government has repeatedly announced its full support for the JCPOA. However, like other European players, Berlin did not take any effective steps to resolve the issue of normalization of banking relations between Europe and Iran.

Regarding Merkel’s confusion, we come to conclude that she has not yet made her final decision on the nuclear deal and how to deal with it, and that the mere repetition of “supporting” the JCPOA, doesn’t solve any of the problems raised as a result of EU’s passiveness in confronting the U.S. irrational demands.

Source: Tehran Times