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What's Next For The Iran Nuclear Deal And Diplomacy?

President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the White House on the ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi air bases housing U.S. troops, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence and others looks on. (Evan Vucci/AP)
President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the White House on the ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi air bases housing U.S. troops, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence and others looks on. (Evan Vucci/AP)

President Trump tells European allies it’s time to break away from the remnants of the Iran deal. What now for diplomacy?


Ellie Geranmayeh, senior policy fellow and deputy of the head of the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council on Foreign Relations. (@EllieGeranmayeh)

She advised European governments and companies on the nuclear negotiations with Iran from 2013-2015 and continues to consult on safeguarding the implementation of the agreement.

Richard Johnson, senior director of fuel cycle and verification at the Nuclear Threat Initiative. He previously served as the deputy lead coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation at the U.S. Department of State. Former director of nonproliferation at the National Security Council in the Obama Administration. Former member of the U.S. delegation to JCPOA Joint Commission and the Six-Party Talks. (@johnsonrc01)

Markus Kaim, Helmut Schmidt fellow at the German Marshall Fund. Senior fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

From The Reading List

Politico: “Opinion: Crisis in Iran will drive wedge between Europe and Washington” — “The assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani is a turning point for relations between the United States and Iran. It also pulls U.S. allies in Europe deeper into uncharted waters, and threatens to leave European forces on the ground caught in the crossfire of escalation between Tehran and Washington.

“U.S. President Donald Trump has removed a top Iranian military operative blamed for bloodshed in the region. But in doing so, he has exposed every American boot on the ground in the Middle East to possible retaliatory attacks and opened up new space for Iran to up the ante. By publicly and boastfully targeting a high profile confidant of Iran’s supreme leader, Trump has also rewritten the rules of engagement that had, for the large part of the past decade, allowed Iran and the U.S. to reduce the risk of collision in their operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“For European capitals, this means their worst predictions — they warned the Trump administration that withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal would trigger a chain of escalation with Iran — are becoming reality.”

CNBC: “‘Dead in the water’: Europe can no longer help save Iran’s nuclear deal, strategists say” — “With hostility between Iran and the U.S. running high and Tehran vowing to backtrack on its commitment to the 2015 international nuclear deal, questions have arisen over whether European nations will stand by the pact, or side with the U.S.

“The EU has attracted criticism for its slow response to the crisis that erupted last week following the U.S. airstrike on Baghdad that killed Iran’s top military commander Qasem Suleimani, prompting public and political outrage in Iran.

“Only on Monday (four days after the attack and a day after Iran said it would no longer abide by uranium enrichment limits in the nuclear deal struck with the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China), did European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen comment on the crisis.

“Von der Leyen said in a statement that ‘now it is important to halt the cycle of violence’ and that a space for diplomacy was created; ‘Europe has a special responsibility here,’ she said.”

Carnegie Europe: “Europe’s Dangerous Irrelevance in Washington and the Middle East” — “The Middle East is in turmoil, but the Europeans are hapless bystanders.

“The decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to assassinate Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s ruthless Quds Force, has shaken the leaders of the biggest European countries.

“Their attempts to salvage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, are in tatters after Iran said on January 5 it was abandoning all limitations on uranium enrichment. It’s unlikely the accord could have survived once Trump pulled out of it in 2018. Soleimani’s death has strengthened the hand of hardliners in Tehran. They disliked the nuclear deal.

“As for the Europeans’ reaction to the decision by Iraq’s parliament to order American troops out of the country, coupled with Iran’s growing influence in Baghdad, they amounted to handwringing and the ritual rhetorical statements.

“Britain, France, and Germany, signatories to the JCPOA, called for a special meeting of EU foreign ministers, stressing the need to ‘de-escalate’ and emphasizing their ‘deep concern’—an expression that has zero meaning.

“But the potential conflagration unfolding in front of their eyes is symptomatic of a much more profound malaise, and its consequences will either shake Europe out of its strategic helplessness or reduce it to a mere object of external influences, benign or destructive.”

This article was originally published on

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