Sputnik: How anticipated was the announcement of Iran’s possible withdrawal? What are the chances that Tehran would actually proceed with the pullout?
Alexander Azadgan: Many of my colleagues and I predicted this even back when President Khatami was negotiating back in the day, even when in July 14, 2015, this was signed, many of us were very suspicious that the West even under Mr Trump or even after him if Hillary Clinton got in power that this was going to be reneged somehow. Of course in the format of Mr. Trump this was one of the easiest predictions to make, and having said that, Mr. Trump‘s behavior and decision-making has been so erratic and unforcastable that you never know what’s going to happen. We heard some reconciliatory words and phrases from him, but I’m afraid the Iranians would not be feeling the same, they feel extremely backstabbed, but not just the colleagues in Washington, but also by their French colleagues, you have the example of PSA, the consortium, Peugeot, Citroen as well as Total, who clearly stated that they’re going to renege under multibillion dollar contracts that they made with Iran, so this was a very easily anticipated outcome.
Alexander Azadgan: There’s a lot that can be done, but I don't think there’s the will power; so I don't think at this point anything can be done really. You clearly cannot count on France and the UK, so the only country that's left would be Germany.
Sputnik: What about Russia and China?
Alexander Azadgan: I don’t believe we can count on our Chinese counterparts, but I believe we can count on Russia and Germany, believe it or not, who are getting closer; so from that regard there might be some arm twisting and some hope, but unfortunately my forecast on this is rather gloomy.
Sputnik: Do you think that this announcement that they could withdraw was sort of a cry for help to the remaining signatories so they would, perhaps, try to come up with some kind of a way to try to salvage the deal, or is this just leaked information of their intentions?
Sputnik: What about the chances that Europe will defy the US? On the back of it they do have this trade war going on and, of course, the US has threatened that they will apply secondary sanctions to any country or company that does trade with Iran after the US pulled out of the deal, do you think there’s any chances that Europe will defy, especially in light of the newest tensions over trade?
Alexander Azadgan: It really depends on which faction of Europeans you're talking about. If you're talking about the new liberal globalist Europeans – yes, they have idealogical differences to Mr. Trump's approach, but if you’re talking about the economic nationalists in Europe, and let’s face it, they were quite successful in Brexit, if we are talking about those people then they would want to be closer to the United States and leave Europe as fast as possible. Mrs. Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, is quite eager in words and in action reconciliatory to Iran, very harsh and very noncompliant with Washington; so it depends on what elections we have ahead of ourselves in Europe, not many, except for Madame Merkel, but there’s no election coming up with Merkel, but there’s incredible hostility towards her policies there.
Let’s just assume we're addressing the core and order in Europe and in that sense I don’t think these people want to continue being vassals to the United States as they have been during the past 80 years, and again that will work towards the Iranians. This is a much bigger idealogical and business, economic policy than Iran. Iran is just a conduit for the expression of the conflict that has existed between Europe and the United States, although at a very subconscious level. This is an opportunity for the Europeans to separate from Washington and in fact become independent in trade, but again, the trade volume between the EU and the United States is incredibly sizable, these things are major valuables, making it very difficult to make policy changes, regardless of how globalist or how liberal the policymakers in power may be in Europe.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.