18:54 GMT08 May 2021
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    Iran Deal: Is the Transatlantic Rift for Real?

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    The Europeans' opposition to Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran deal and the workarounds that they're developing to evade forthcoming American sanctions have sparked talk of a developing Transatlantic rift.

    The Iranian Ambassador to Germany announced that his country is working with its continental partners to establish a bank of transactions for facilitating Euro-denominated bilateral trade that could bypass the US' unilateral restrictions on economic activity with the Islamic Republic. The EU members of the P5+1 — meaning the UK, France, and Germany — have all come out against Trump's move to withdraw from the accord, and each of these countries has their own envisioned economic interests in Iran that they don't want to sacrifice for the sake of politically supporting their NATO ally.

    For however much some of the Europeans might want to thumb their nose at America and flout its new anti-Iranian sanctions regime, it can be assured that Washington will use all means at its disposal in order to get them to comply, just as it's attempting to do with others across the world who continue to trade with Russia and buy its military wares in spite of the US' prohibitions against this. Bearing in mind that "containing" Iran has always been part of Trump's publicly proclaimed strategy to "Make America Great Again" unlike the anti-Russian actions that his "deep state" pressured him into taking since he entered office, it's probable that the firebrand President will make this a personal political crusade of his and interpret any opposition from his country's allies as a personal slight against him.

    Even so, as they say, "old habits die hard", and the pursuit of self-interest — especially in the economic realm — is something that the Europeans might not surrender so easily without a fight. The political rift that could follow has the chance of compounding preexisting Transatlantic distrust over issues such as trade and NATO contributions in order to further weaken ties between the US and its EU allies. Any intimidating moves that the US makes in trying to pressure its partners to comply would also be received very negatively by the Europeans, who could react by strengthening their multilateral coordination with one another in further defying the anti-Iranian sanctions. Taken to an extreme, which is unlikely but can't be ruled out, a strategic threshold might be reached from which there wouldn't be any turning back.

    Andrew Korybko is joined Clifton Ellis, British-Jamaican senior electrical engineer and avid geo-political observer, Matthew Farag, a Chicago-based political commentator.

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    Transatlantic rift, nuclear deal, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Donald Trump, Iran, EU, US
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