Understanding the EU push against Iran
As if the current deadlock over the Vienna nuclear talks wasn’t enough. The European Union added another layer of distrust between Iran and the West to the current tense situation regarding the stalemated talks over reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The excuse is Ukraine.
After days of media and diplomatic allegations against Iran, the EU ultimately slapped sanctions on Iran for Tehran’s alleged provision of drones to Russia for use in Ukraine.
On Thursday, the Council of the European Union designated three Iranian individuals and one entity in relation to the alleged use of Iranian drones in the Ukraine war.
“The Council today added three Iranian individuals and one Iranian entity to the list of those subject to restrictive measures for undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. This is in view of their role in the development and delivery of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) used by Russia in its war against Ukraine,” the Council said in a statement.
The statement also said that the Council has also signaled its intention to impose restrictive measures against a further two individuals and two entities on the same grounds.
The new sanctions come amid continued Western allegations over Iran allegedly providing Russia with kamikaze drones and missiles for use in Ukraine, a claim that Iran roundly rejected.
In his recent phone conversation with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made it clear that Iran does not supply Russia with arms. The Iranian foreign minister said Iran has defense cooperation with Russia, but Tehran’s policy regarding the Ukraine war is to respect the country’s territorial integrity.
He said Iran does not send arms to the warring sides in Ukraine and wants an end to the war and an end to the displacement of people, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.
Amir-Abdollahian said Iran is opposed to war and it vehemently rejects claims that it has given Russia drones for use in the conflict in Ukraine.
Despite Iran’s repetitive denials, the EU and the US continue to level accusations against Iran, something that will likely have a bearing on the stalled Vienna talks on JCPOA resuscitation.
Pundits believe that the West’s accusations against Iran further dim the prospect of a deal in Vienna. And European diplomats don’t shy away from admitting the destructive impact of their accusations on the JCPOA talks. “Sincerely, the JCPOA does not count anymore,” one senior official from Europe told Brussels Playbook, according to Politico. “We have gotten used to the idea that this will not move forward.”
Iran, however, remains committed to diplomacy despite the sanctions and accusations the West leveled. Amir-Abdollahian told Borrell that Iran’s foreign policy is focused on logic, rationality and diplomacy and it does not build on double standards.
By: Mehran Shamsuddin
First published in Tehran Times