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Europeans Switch to Malley’s Old Positions on Iran

Europeans Switch to Malley’s Old Positions on Iran

Wednesday, 6 July, 2022 - 08:30
Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Since Joe Biden assumed the US presidency, his administration has been rushing to revive the nuclear deal with Tehran. This resulted in internal and foreign criticism being leveled against US Special Representative for Iran Robert Malley for his desire to strike an agreement with Iran at any cost.

Today, there is a discrepancy in the rhetoric about the nuclear agreement. The difference becomes specifically apparent between Malley and the French, who represent the European drive to conclude an agreement with Tehran in a hasty manner as well.

This resulted in the failure of the Doha talks.

During a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said: “We must defend this agreement (Iran nuclear deal) and take into account the interests of our friends in the region, foremost among them is Israel.”

In an interview to the Washington-based National Public Radio (NPR), Malley said : “They (Iranians) have and, including in Doha, added demands that I think anyone looking at this would be viewed as having nothing to do with the nuclear deal, things that they've wanted in the past.”

“The discussion that really needs to take place right now is not so much between us and Iran, although we're prepared to have that; it's between Iran and itself, that they need to come to a conclusion about whether they are now prepared to come back into compliance with the deal,” he added.

Of course, Malley’s originally biased position cannot be completely relied upon to hasten the nuclear agreement with Iran, even if he admitted in his interview on Tuesday that Tehran is very close to possessing enough fissile material to manufacture a nuclear bomb.

However, here we are faced with an important paradox.

Europeans, especially the French, have now adopted Malley’s previously lenient position that focused on achieving a nuclear deal with Iran at any cost and without any regard for regional worries.

Meanwhile, Malley has become more vigilant when talking about the nuclear file in Washington.

His caution has a clear reason. It stems from difficulties the US administration is facing with internal issues. Moreover, Malley is factoring in midterm elections and President Biden's inability to make concessions to Iran now.

Europeans, led by France, can’t represent any weight in reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran, as Europe combined can’t pledge to the commitment of any new US administration to any agreement with Tehran.

Also, the Europeans combined can’t convince Washington to lift sanctions on Iran.

Therefore, this European role, under French leadership, will only complicate matters and help Iran manipulate the nuclear file.

This could lead to Iran declaring its possession of a nuclear bomb. Not only will its possession of nuclear arms surprise the world, but it will also launch a catastrophic arms race in the region.

If manifested, the French role would shake the region once again. The first tremor had struck the region when Ayatollah Khomeini disembarked from the French plane in Iran. The second wave would hit after Tehran announces its possession of a nuclear bomb.

The European position, and the French rhetoric, does not lead to solutions, as much as it encourages Iran to go beyond the pale and continue its aggression, which brings the region closer to an open war.

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