The Iranian Crisis – Loggerhead between Trump and Europe
Recently, the G-7 Summit in Biarritz, France, saw the presence of the Iranian Foreign Minister at the behest of France and that caught many leaders including Donald Trump highly surprised.
The Iranian minister held talks with the French President about recent initiatives between both the countries.
This shows the extent of differences between Donald Trump and its European counterparts in regards with the Iran issue. On one hand USA is hell bent on imposing restrictions on Iran whereas on the other hand the European countries are trying to continue and maintain a stable relationship with Iran despite the Strait of Hormuz Oil Tanker crisis. Several reasons can be attributed to it, the prime being USA’s ‘maximum pressure’ plan in regard to Iran being a way with no end.
Reasons for the Loggerhead
The division between the EU and the USA over Iran has been one of the most pressing security challenge since Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal, even if they seem worried about a growing list of violations by Iran of the deal.
1) Energy Security
The major reason is that Europe needs to keep the Persian Gulf open to guarantee the flow of oil and ensure its economic security. However, France and Germany have refused to join the American plan ‘Project Sentinel’ to protect its ships from passing through the Strait of Hormuz. This strait sees the passage of bulk number of European ships establishing trade with the South East Asia and other regions.
2) No appetite for another war
The European are fearful of getting involved in another war in the West Asia. The crisis clearly shows the war-mongering intention of Donald Trump which will have its consequence on the whole of Europe. No European country wants a military confrontation with Iran, one which will draw in other regional states and non-states actors. Already on the verge of an economic depression phase, what the world will not want at this point is an all-out war among the nations.
3) European Businesses around American sanctions
The European have been trying to find ways for their businesses to work around American sanctions on Iran. France, Germany and UK have developed a mechanism to trade with Iran legally through a trading system called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). It has been designed to permit countries to trade with Iran without the use of American dollars, so as to avoid the US Financial systems.
Despite the drone war between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia and the Lebanon Hezbollah and Israel which risks drawing in Iran in a new war in West Asia, European powers could a major role in ending the US-led economic warfare against Iran and building a more effective diplomatic process in West Asia. But at this time, the situation is at a deadlock. For the time being, the Trump administration will need to make its own calculation, in lieu of the setbacks that some of its recent policies have incurred in the region.
Iran on the other hand has the most immediate priority for containing public unrest and preventing social instability inside the country and asking European countries in finding a way out of the current economic crash dive. But Iran also needs to show flexibility in terms of the nuclear deal so that some kind of arrangement might be attained where both the parties are mutually benefitted.
But, if it is true as stated by Iran that it still does not possess nuclear weapons and its capabilities are no match to that of the US, then it clears the dact that Iran has a hybrid warfare capabilities and an expanded network of proxies and allies in the region which gives it an edge to continue its hegemony on West Asia.