Europe Has an Easy and Effective Way to Sanction Iran—If It’s Serious about Doing So

In a recent interview, the French president Emmanuel Macron called for a tougher approach to Tehran, reflecting a growing sentiment in Europe, brought on both by the Islamic Republic’s violent response to mass protests and its support for Russia. The EU is already considering issuing new sanctions. But if it wants to have a significant impact on Iran, Richard Goldberg explains, Europe should take advantage of UN Security Resolution 2231, which ratified the 2015 nuclear deal and suspended previous sanctions:

UNSCR 2231 also came with a “snapback” mechanism: a way for the original state parties to the Iran deal—the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany—to force the return of all prior UN sanctions if Tehran violates its commitments. With Iran today spinning enough advanced centrifuges to produce high-enriched uranium for several nuclear bombs, any party could at any time notify the Security Council that Iran is breaking its nuclear deal commitments. This would trigger a 30-day clock before all prior resolutions—and their restrictions—come back into force. Russia or China would then have the opportunity to offer a Security Council resolution to block the snapback, but it would be subject to the veto held by the other permanent members Britain, France, and the United States.

Besides the strong signal it would send to the regime in Tehran, completing snapback would have other key benefits. Snapback means the UN arms embargo would return, and the missile embargo, [set to expire next year], would stay.

By contrast, reviving the deal and allowing remaining UN sanctions to lapse means throwing Iran a financial lifeline when it is most vulnerable. Under the proposed terms of the shorter, weaker nuclear accord the United States offered Iran in recent months, Tehran would receive an estimated $275 billion in revenue during the first year, rising to $1 trillion total by 2030. Iran would retain the ability to expand its nuclear-centrifuge program with an eye toward the deal’s full expiration in 2031.

In short, the regime could fortify its economy, quash the popular uprisings, and emerge with an unstoppable nuclear threshold capability simply by saying “yes” to the deal on offer.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Emmanuel Macron, European Union, Iran, Iran nuclear program


Spain’s Anti-Israel Agenda

What interest does Madrid have in the creation of a Palestinian state? Elliott Abrams raised this question a few days ago, when discussing ongoing Spanish efforts to block the transfer of arms to Israel. He points to multiple opinion surveys suggesting that Spain is among Europe’s most anti-Semitic countries:

The point of including that information here is to explain the obvious: Spain’s anti-Israel extremism is not based in fancy international political analyses, but instead reflects both the extreme views of hard-left parties in the governing coalition and a very traditional Spanish anti-Semitism. Spain’s government lacks the moral standing to lecture the state of Israel on how to defend itself against terrorist murderers. Its effort to deprive Israel of the means of defense is deeply immoral. Every effort should be made to prevent these views from further infecting the politics and foreign policy of the European Union and its member states.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel, Palestinian statehood, Spain