The Joint Commission on the Iran nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will meet today in Vienna.
The commission, comprised of representatives from the EU, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran, convenes ahead of the expiration of the UN arms embargo on Iran on October 18. The US, which abandoned the JCPOA in 2018 as part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran, has requested that the UN re-trigger economic sanctions. France, Germany and the UK have criticised the move and voted it down in the UN Security Council.
Though Europe hopes to keep Iran engaged within the 2015 agreement and mediate tensions between Tehran and Washington, its ability to maintain the deal is limited. If Trump is re-elected, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, considered a moderate in Iranian politics, may have little choice but to succumb to conservative pressure and withdraw from the deal, especially if the US initiates its own arms embargo.
Today’s meeting will likely see the EU reaffirm its commitment to the deal, but little else. Paradoxically, the European commitment to the JCPOA will likely push the US toward more sabre-rattling with Iran, since the latter is now in a position to upgrade its military arsenal and exert its power more effectively in the Levant and the Persian Gulf.
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