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former European diplomats call for action

The assassination on November 27 of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a major figure in the Iranian nuclear program, reminds us at the right time: Europeans have limited means of action, but they cannot remain passive, while waiting for Joe Biden to take office. in January 2021. They must put in place a strategy to try to revitalize the Iranian nuclear agreement (JCPoA), on a transatlantic basis. This is the meaning of the open letter published Monday, November 30 on the website of the European Council for International Relations (ECFR), a think tank, by six former high-ranking European diplomats. These do not even mention two other signatories to the agreement, China and Russia, and focus on the roadmap that Paris, Berlin and London could follow.

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After struggling for four years to resist the blows of the Trump administration, which withdrew from the agreement in 2018, the E3 countries (United Kingdom, France, Germany) must, according to the signatories, call on Washington and Tehran to re-comply with the JCPoA. The question of sequencing the steps will obviously be crucial. Only then could the broader issue of regional security and Iran’s ballistics program be addressed. The team assembled by the elected American president, Joe Biden – and in particular his future national security adviser, Jack Sullivan, very familiar with the Iranian file -, does not want to be satisfied with a simple reversal of the decision of Donald Trump.

The signatories of the letter represent several EU countries. They are the former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt; former British Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt; the president of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, who was deputy foreign minister; by Jean-David Levitte, former French Ambassador to Washington and “Sherpa” of Presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy; Andrzej Olechowski, former head of Polish diplomacy; and, finally, Javier Solana, who was notably Secretary General of NATO.

Controlled skidding

The text notes the failure of the “Maximum pressure campaign” led by Washington against Iran, and his “Unprecedented sanctions having negatively affected ordinary Iranians”. The signatories warn about the period of transition in the United States from one president to another. “The remaining time of the Trump administration’s tenure is likely to be turbulent, with new measures being specifically mentioned to complicate a return of Biden to the JCPoA,” they note in their letter, written before the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Recent reports also suggest that there is a risk of heightened military tensions between the United States and Iran. “

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