Remember when the European Union lambasted President Donald Trump for withdrawing the United States from the Iran nuclear deal? When the decision was announced, the member nations, along with their close friends and allies in the establishment media, had a collective meltdown, claiming that the agreement is the only way to contain Tehran.
But it looks like the E.U. might be having a change of heart. Recently, a meeting between European representatives and Iranian officials halted when the Iranians walked out of the conference. It appears that Tehran did not appreciate the demands being made by the E.U.
European Union and Iran at Odds
During the meeting, talks between European diplomats and the Iranian foreign ministry became heated when Europe demanded that Iran cease its ballistic missile tests and assassinations on European soil. “There was a lot of drama, they didn’t like it, but we felt we had to convey our serious concerns,” a European diplomat told Reuters. “It shows the relationship is becoming more tense,” another said.
The day after the meeting, the E.U. imposed its first sanctions on Tehran since the 2015 deal was struck. According to Reuters, the measures were “largely symbolic,” but it indicates a shift toward a harsher approach to Iran’s weapons programs. Other European nations have indicated that they might be willing to issue tougher sanctions if Iran refuses to clean up its act.
Europe’s new stance on Iran more closely aligns with that of President Trump, who reinstated sanctions shortly after withdrawing from the nuclear deal. This new action could portend some serious consequences for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who has relied on the deal to retain positive relations with the E.U.
The E.U.’s demands were a response to Iran’s firing short-range ballistic missiles into Syria late last year and alleged assassination plots on Danish and French soil in 2018. The Netherlands recently blamed Tehran for carrying out murders in the nation in 2015 and 2017. Iran has denied responsibility for the killings and claimed that its missile tests are defensive.
The E.U. isn’t buying it. “The accusations against Iran over the past few months have awoken a few countries in Europe that were against a tougher line on Iran,” a European diplomat explained. “Take the Dutch, for example. They had kept very quiet until the Danish attack, and now they are more hawkish than the French,” he added.
Change of Heart?
Well, it didn’t take long for relations between the E.U. and Iran to sour. Just months after the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal, Iran began flexing its muscles. Some may blame Trump’s decision to withdraw for Tehran’s behavior, but the agreement did not necessarily require Washington’s involvement to remain in effect. The E.U. was more than willing to keep up its part of the agreement despite the U.S. absence.
…the rogue regime was never going to be reined in by the agreement…
But Iran’s actions reveal that the rogue regime was never going to be reined in by the agreement, which lends credibility to Trump’s decision to scrap U.S. participation in the deal. Indeed, an official working with the State Department stated that there is “a growing international consensus” on the Iranian threat.
Since 2018, Europe has attempted to persuade Iran to cease its ballistic missile program only to be met with Tehran’s refusal. The recent meeting appears to be the culmination of the clash between the two entities, and it seems appropriate that Europe would finally become willing to use the stick instead of the carrot. Will the E.U. now admit that President Trump had a point when he argued against the deal? Don’t hold your breath.