In the litany of differences between the United States and its European allies for four years, a peak is about to be crossed. September 20 will expire the one month deadline since the Trump administration triggered the so-called “snapback” procedure. That is to say the reintroduction of the UN sanctions which targeted Iran before the signing of the nuclear agreement (JCPOA), in 2015. But all the other signatories (European Union, France, Germany, Great Britain, China, Russia) dispute formally to the United States the possibility of undertaking such a unilateral step, once they left the agreement in 2018.
Washington considers that it has the right to do so as a signatory of resolution 2231 adopted by the United Nations Security Council. As the November 3 presidential election approaches, the Trump administration is trying to complete its strategy in the Middle East, including the policy of “Maximum pressure” against Iran is a pillar. This is to make a complete rehabilitation of the nuclear agreement impossible.
This objective explains the American refusal of any compromise concerning the embargo on small arms, which expires on October 18. Washington wanted its renewal, Beijing and Russia are opposed. The Europeans have sought a middle way. “We have put forward many alternative formulas to deal with the security issues raised by the end of the embargo, says a French diplomatic source. There has been a lot of discussion with the United States about the ideas we have presented, but their position is uncompromising. ”
So looming an exceptional diplomatic moment, for two reasons: the complete American isolation – if we put aside the support of Israel – on a major international file, and the confirmation of a parallel legal reality, maintained by Washington. On the one hand, the Americans are counting on announcing the return of sanctions on their own. On the other hand, Europeans, Russians and Chinese are preparing to ignore Washington’s position. The E3 countries (Great Britain, Germany, France) have an immediate horizon line on November 3. They reflect on the strategy to adopt in the two months between the election and the eventual entry into office of Joe Biden. The Democratic candidate wants an American return to the JCPOA. But under what conditions?
“We swallow snake after snake”
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