European policy on Iran is a disaster

European policy on Iran is a disaster

By Jonathan Power

December 11, 2019

Europeans have not done well in countering President Donald Trump’s onslaught
on Iran. When Trump unilaterally decided that the US should withdraw from the
2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, which committed Iran to winding down its nuclear
research in return for the West, Russia and China (the latter two were also
part of the deal) lifting sanctions which were crippling the Iranian economy,
the Europeans huffed and puffed and then did little.

UN membership considered the 2015 deal to be very fair. The Security Council
gave it unanimous support. Indeed, the US is now in breech of international law
by opting out.

if the Europeans had had the guts when President Donald Trump announced the US
withdrawal they would have pushed for debate on this issue at the Security
Council and got the US condemned, even punished.

Unfortunately, Trump had the Europeans’ guts for braces. After shouting loudly that they would find a way to lift their own sanctions and compensate Iran in other ways, the Europeans have ended up caving in to Trump.

Fearful of the long arm of American sanctions which could make any European company doing business with Iran suffer if it was using American bank channels with some parts of its transactions, the EU nations have more or less given up on trying to help Iran (Given the ubiquity of American banks it is almost impossible to do business in the world without being compelled to make use of them at some point.).

caving in on the 2015 deal, the EU, supporting Trump, has condemned Iran’s
missile tests and satellite launches. But is there a real threat from Iran? Or
is it one manufactured in Washington?

Iranians maintain that their satellite program is entirely peaceful and that
since its missiles are all conventional, not designed to carry nuclear weapons,
they are of limited military purpose. They are not for use against the US or

Public opinion is often confused by the debate on ballistic missiles, assuming that such missiles are necessarily nuclear-tipped. They are not.

At present, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 31 countries possess ballistic missiles capabilities but only 9 are nuclear-armed. Moreover, “ballistic” translates in many people’s minds to “long-range.” But at present Iran’s missiles are not long-range.

Western nations have long been happy with the fudge in their electorate’s minds. It’s rare to hear or read in Western media that it is Israel and Saudi Arabia that possess the longest-range missiles in the Middle East, and that Saudi Arabia has bought Chinese long-range missies that could carry nuclear warheads.

But there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Iran is actively developing an intermediate or intercontinental range ballistic missile or one that can be mounted with a nuclear warhead.

it is true that Iran has the largest arsenal of ballistic missiles in the
Middle East. It could not hit America but it could hit American bases and ships
in the Middle East.

Although Iran has a space program for satellites Iran has never, as some nations have, developed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) under the pretext of developing Space Launch Vehicles (SLVs).

Iran only manufactures SLVs and no country yet has successfully turned an SLV program into an ICBM one. This is because ICBM development is more demanding in many ways. Missiles carry warheads that must not only reach space, but must also withstand re-entry into the atmosphere.

So Iran having a satellite program is not a shortcut to building long-range missiles.

The Europeans have also been mischievous, to put it mildly, in supporting the US in its building of “missile defence sites” in Poland and Romania.

They have done this not because they were convinced these were necessary to defend against an Iranian long-range nuclear missile attack, as the Americans claimed, but because they wanted to be seen to be ever-stronger supporters of a transatlantic military partnership and to join in providing additional reassurance against Russia.

While the US and NATO have always denied there was any anti-Russian element in the missile defence sites it is more than obvious that a site can be used to defend against missiles attacking from different directions and different countries.

Russians are right. These sites do break the commitments made at the end of the
Cold War not to geographically advance Nato’s borders, and Nato is making a
fake argument about Iran having, or having very soon, long-range ballistic

US with European support, a mixture of complicit and non- complicit, has backed
Iran into a corner and, on one more front, given Russia the impression that it
might be attempting, step by step, to besiege it.

can only predict disaster.

Copyright: Jonathan Power

One Response to "European policy on Iran is a disaster"

  1. F Jahanpour   December 29, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Thank you for this informative article exposing some of the deliberate lies and misconceptions perpetrated by US politicians against Iran and Russia. The weakness of the Europeans in the face of US hegemony will backfire on them, as it is beginning to do so already. US ambassador in Germany orders the host country not to purchase Russian gas but to turn to the much more expensive US gas. The US president and secretary of state forbid Britain and the EU from using Huawei but choose the inferior US version. The United States installs missiles on Russia’s borders on the false pretence of building “missile defence sites” to counter Iranian [non-existent] intercontinental ballistic missiles. The United States deprives European countries of lucrative deals with Iran by imposing extraterritorial sanctions on Iran, but then also sanctions various European countries for trying to tax some American corporations in the way that the United States taxes European corporations.

    The time has come for once proud European nations to decide whether they are content with their political leaders turning them into US vassals and satellites, or whether they believe the time has come to declare independence of US hegemony and live as equal members in a multilateral world.


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