The French-German grand conspiracy to kill JCPOA

Hadi Mohammadi

International affairs expert

The word on the street is that the JCPOA is dead. Some rather describe it as fatally ill. Even if we can’t pronounce the death of the deal in good conscience — since according to the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, the JCPOA is still in effect — practically no significant article of it is being heeded either by Europe and the U.S., which did not halt the imposition of sanctions listed in the JCPOA, or by Iran, which refused to fulfill its nuclear commitments after the West backed down on its promise.

In any case, who is to blame for this situation? The Americans did indeed deal a heavy blow to the JCPOA and largely denied Iran of its economic benefits when they abandoned it in May 2018. But now that four and a half years pass since that day, the blame for the deal’s failure cannot be entirely pinned on the U.S.

It seems that the Europeans were the ones who disrupted the procedure of reviving the JCPOA. Thus, they will have just as much to answer for the nuclear deal’s death. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell recently said that he is less optimistic about reaching an agreement on a revival of the deal because of France and Germany’s opposition.

The revelation indicates that there is a grand conspiracy in Paris and Berlin to kill the JCPOA. Taking the interests of other European countries as hostage, the two neighbors have decided to break off the negotiations to safeguard their interests, nay the interests of their parties. They have cited human rights issues and the Ukraine war as reasons for their actions.

As we already know, Europeans are organization-oriented and process-oriented. They try to advance their agendas by forging international consensus and using international organizations and institutions to do their dirty work. The Americans, on the contrary, mainly use brute force to reach their goals, even if it means sacrificing international organizations and institutions.

The difference in their attitudes is evident in the fact that while the U.S. abandoned the JCPOA and ignored the 15 reports by the IAEA that verified Iran’s compliance with the stipulations of the deal, Europe and Borrell showed interest in keeping the JCPOA alive.

However, Europeans and some Persian-speaking expatriates have used everything in their media arsenal to once again paint Iran’s case as a security threat. Now that they have gone too far with their plan and created a situation wherein their return to the negotiating table has become extremely difficult and costly, the numbered breaths of the JCPOA have caused more worry for them than for anyone else.

Paris and Berlin know well the repercussions their abuse of the IAEA, the UN, and the Security Council can have. The last paragraph of a letter that former Iranian president Hassan Rouhani sent to them on the occasion of reducing Iran’s nuclear commitments reads that if the JCPOA dies for any reason and Iran’s case is ever put under the UNSC‎’s Chapter VII, they should expect Iran’s strong response.

What is more, Iran’s strong response was outlined in the letter: Iran will quit the NPT, expel IAEA inspectors within 90 days, and put an end to the minimal monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s withdrawal from the NPT alone is the nightmare of France and Germany. As several Iranian officials have emphasized, Iran has the capacity, knowledge, and materials for building a number of atomic bombs. The construction of such a bomb is only a matter of will.

Even though the JCPOA has been targeted by two greedy European countries, it is still barely alive. The window for reviving the feeble body of the nuclear deal is closing. If any move is to be made, it should be made soon. If not, one cannot imagine a bright future without the JCPOA.