EU adopts a “Trump-independent” policy: Sanctions 18 million euros to Iran as aid
The European Union has sanctioned aid worth over 18 million euros to be given to Iran, in what is turning out to be a marked difference in foreign policy preference from the Trump Administration’s stance on Iran and their history with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The purpose of the authorized aid has been revealed to be a token of assistance to Iran to recover from the United States imposed sanctions and the 2015 JCPOA deal that saw Iran limit its nuclear capabilities and ambitions.
As per the said deal, Iran was required under its provisions to cut their existing stockpile of low enriched uranium by 98% and largely eliminate their medium-enriched uranium stockpiles. The deal also called for opening up all Iranian facilities to regular International Atomic Energy access. It further prohibited Iran from building any new heavy-water facilities for the next fifteen years. However, limited uranium enrichment of up to 3.67% will be permitted for the same period of time.
In spite of the initial agreement over the deal’s provisions, the Trump administration pulled out from the deal in 2018 due to apparent weakness and inadequacy in mechanisms of the deal to keep Iran’s nuclear program under a check. After pulling out of the so-called “one-sided” deal, Trump re-imposed American sanctions on Iran, specifically targeting the energy, petrochemical and financial sectors.
Hints towards the complete withdrawal were made by Trump in late 2017 itself. He announced that he would instruct the US Congress to research specific “trigger points” that would permit the United States to re-impose sanctions if Iran violated any terms of the deal. However, at this stage, he had noted that he would not completely withdraw from the deal. He insisted that he would be more tough with Iran than the previous Obama administration and termed Iran deal the “worst deal ever” and pledged to eventually exit it. However, he had to face a lot of internal opposition to his move from the Congress itself as it had to be a bipartisan move to implement and carry out the hostile move.
Hence the current move by the EU is a step towards filling the void the United States left in May 2018. It is a part of a wider aid package worth 50 million that has been specifically dedicated to Iran in the EU’s budget. These steps to maintain the deal is to ensure Iran does not break away from the deal as well. This is after some threats issued by Iran to not be party to the deal anymore if actual economic benefits are not seen from it. The head of foreign policy of the bloc responsible for sanctioning the aid – Federica Mogherini, revealed in a statement that the bloc was committed to the maintenance of the co-operation with Iran as per the deal.
The bloc plans to spend over 8 million euros on the country’s private sector which is expected to include assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises and financially support and promote Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization. A further 8 million euros will be dedicated to environmental projects in the Islamic Republic and over 2 million to counter the impact of drugs and narcotics in society. The steps of the bloc are expected by the EU to widen economic and sectoral relations that would eventually benefit citizens of both Iran and the EU.
*Rayan Bhattacharya is a Research Intern at The Kootneeti
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team