Amid US Threats, Can Europe Take Back Its Iran Deal?

Nations may rethink risky decision to implement dispute resolution

The three European parties to the Iran nuclear deal, Britain, France, and Germany, took a risky decision to implement the dispute resolution of the deal. It was subsequently revealed that they did so specifically because the US threatened to impose auto tariffs on them if they didn’t.

President Trump is now threatening those same auto tariffs on the EU if they don’t accept a litany of new demands, including signing a trade deal. That clearly weakens making the threat about the Iran deal.

The EU3 may well have buyer’s remorse now. Russia was critical of the dispute resolution move, which they said was undermining an attempt to negotiate a proper settlement. Iran had also warned the nations this was a negative move.

It is not clear, however, whether the European group can take back what it has done. Trump would no doubt be furious and threaten to punish them, but anything he thinks he can do to the EU will be on the table for the next perceived slight at any rate, and that makes it a poor motivator.

Iran has been trying to start negotiations on sanctions relief, and made deliberate, but easily reversible violations of the deal to bring everyone into the talks. The US is not a party to the deal at this point, and Trump has made clear the US wants the nuclear deal to end entirely. It is with that goal in mind that they are coercing Europe to act.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.