Sputnik has discussed the issue with Luciano Zaccara, an assistant research professor in Gulf politics at the Qatar University Gulf Studies Centre.
Sputnik: Pompeo says that Europe is following US calls to keep Iran in check and that they are in unison on Iran. Do you agree with that statement?
Luciano Zaccara: Partially, but not in a whole sense because most of the European governments did not attend the summit and the EU’s High Representative Federica Mogherini declined to participate, because of different reasons; only the British foreign representative attended that meeting.
So, I don’t actually see that the European countries altogether are supporting this idea of the United States; this actually means that the European Union is driving apart from the harsh stance that the United States is having toward Iran.
Sputnik: Certain European nations have actually been really reluctant to attend the summit, which, is focused exclusively on Iran. There is also the opinion that this was an attempt by the US to separate Europe, between the countries that are in support of their initiative on Iran and those that disagree. What are your thoughts on that?
Luciano Zaccara: The United States is trying its best to push Europe to pull out from the deal; of course, Russia and China will not stand by this request of the United States.
But the United States is confident enough to use all their diplomatic, economic and financial tools to push the European Union to abrogate the JCPOA and to stand with the United States in this kind of new containment policy against Iran, and try to force a new deal that includes other aspects that were not negotiated in 2013-2015; actually, the European Union is not in line with the United States.
They don’t want to give an excuse to Iran to pull out from the deal, because this would mean that this was really and unsuccessful deal, which is not the case right now.
Iran has been complying with all the requirements signed in the deal, and it’s only the United States who decided to pull out from the deal without too many reasons, apart from the complaints or the evidence supposedly provided by Netanyahu, not even provided by the US intelligence and security agencies. So, I don’t see how the European Union can justify changing their mind regarding the nuclear deal right now.
Sputnik: The US has been looking for quite some time to establish what they call a “Middle East Strategic Alliance” to confront Iran. How probable do you think that is, especially in view of the dispute with Qatar? And has the Warsaw summit given any traction to the idea?
Luciano Zaccara: I think this initiative was a little bit nonsense, having in mind that first a lot of things have to be discussed within the GCC context.
I mean, every time there’s such an initiative, it’s not possible to sit the six members of the GCC together to discuss this; the accusations that they are throwing at each other are making any kind of agreement impossible. At this meeting, for instance, Qatar was not present at the summit, while Saudi [Arabia] was the one pushing for this; and the presence of Israel is also making everything a little bit more complicated.
Of course, there is concern that Iran is a kind of a hegemonic state or a big power in the region and they don’t want Iran to become so powerful, but the relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran are not the same as the relations that Iran has with Qatar, Kuwait, Oman or the Emirates. So it’s very difficult to make sure that this alliance will be possible.
Moreover, we have to bear in mind that the GCC will sooner or later stop existing. I mean, nowadays in the region we are talking about the GCC only in the form of three countries which are Bahrain, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia; and sooner or late Qatar, Oman and Kuwait may be creating another kind of regional cooperation mechanism because this one is not useful anymore.
So I don’t see, in the long-term that this may be possible as far as the situation within the GCC is not solved. And so far, the discussions that we’re having here in Qatar lie on the lack of improvement in any kind of mediation or negotiation going on about the blockade.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Luciano Zaccara and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.