Our translation from RIA Novosti, preceded by our commentary.
Quote by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov:
“We … consider it necessary to fully implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). If they want to discuss some other issues concerning Iran; this should be done with its mandatory participation and by consensus, and not by ultimatums.” [NSS highlighting]
The US’ ingrained habit of treating all other countries like school children who need spanked is not a function of the so-called Deep State. It is an integral part the psyche of the US citizen, imparted by peers, msm, higher and public education and government officials and candidates for higher office. Many Americans feel betrayed by officials who compromise with foreign countries to keep the peace and avoid confrontation. Such officials are “weak,” even when their actions are necessary to avoid war.
This habit will not be broken by Americans themselves. Any meaningful change must come from without. The EU, which has been badly stung by US sanctions and interference with its foreign trade, is now one of the challengers.
The end of the alliance: Europe and Russia have come out together against the US for the first time
Ivan Danilov, for RIA Novosti
Earlier this week, an extraordinary event occurred: the ambassador of the European Union in the US criticized the actions of US President Trump, accused the US of compromising principles and promised that the EU would sabotage US attempts to introduce new international sanctions against Iran. A very tough approach by the European diplomat was clearly coordinated with Brussels and Berlin and indicates that transatlantic solidarity on key issues of international politics has already come to an end. Now that Sergei Lavrov has once again expressed opposition to US actions against Iran, a paradoxical situation has emerged: the European Union and Russia are a united front against American policy in a strategically important direction. Whether a major Middle East war begins this year depends on whether Trump is ready to go ahead to satisfy the ambitions and phobias of his sponsors in the United States and the Middle East.
David O'Sullivan, the EU ambassador to the United States, held a special meeting at the Washington office of the Bloomberg agency with representatives of the American media to explain to them why the European Union is sharply against President Donald Trump's desire to disrupt the so-called Iranian nuclear deal and impose international sanctions against Iran. “The Iranian nuclear deal” is a 2015 agreement signed by Iran with the permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, as well as with Germany and the European Union. In fact, the agreement provides for Iran to abstain from developing a military nuclear program and consent to international monitoring of compliance with this abstinence in exchange for lifting the UN sanctions imposed on the country. The “Iran nuclear deal” was signed by President Obama, despite the protests of many American and Israeli politicians who insisted on continuing pressure on Iran or even on military intervention against Tehran. Donald Trump, during the election campaign, spoke very negatively about the Iranian deal and demanded the return of anti-Iran sanctions, combined with the cancellation of all existing agreements.
The American president’s position proposes a much more rigid version of the Iranian deal, which looks more like the most humiliating capitulation of Tehran than an agreement. The rigidity of the demands of the US administration gives the impression that Washington is not looking for a new compromise, but an excuse to start the economic strangulation of Iran, and then move on to military intervention. The US is being pushed into the power option by a rather influential segment of the American political elite.
The EU ambassador to the United States clearly outlined the dissenting position of Brussels on the reintroduction of anti-Iran sanctions and the cancellation of the nuclear deal: “This, in my opinion, will not work. We lifted the sanctions, and this was part of the agreement, and we cannot in good conscience enter sanctions again without a good reason,” the ambassador said, clearly hinting that the desire of the US military-industrial complex to earn money and Trump's political ambitions are not on the list of “valid reasons.”
In a similar vein, the head of Russian diplomacy Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following the talks with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Dreen:
“We, like France, consider it necessary to fully implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). If they want to discuss some other issues concerning Iran, this should be done with its mandatory participation and by consensus, and not by ultimatums.”
Now the Trump administration faces an unpleasant choice, which consists of three bad choices. First, he can try very hard to pressure the European Union and demand that Brussels, Berlin and Paris change their position. As an argument, he can try to use a threat to impose sanctions against European companies that work with Iran, as well as the accusation that the EU countries have mercantile interests related to investments in the Iranian economy. This would make Europe betray the ideals of transatlantic unity and turn a deaf ear to the demands of Washington and Tel Aviv, insisting on the need for decisive measures against Iran. The problem of this approach is that the European Union has already demonstrated a categorical rejection of the threats of sanctions influencing its companies and moreover it is prepared to respond with retaliatory accusations against Washington:
“There is a whole mythology in the US, in certain circles, and this mythology is that we are only interested in trade with Iran and are ready to sell our souls for the opportunity to sell a few cars or planes. For example, the way Boeing is doing it,” said O'Sullivan, hinting that the US corporation is trying to sell planes to Iran for $20 billion. "We do not sell principles for a few contracts," the European diplomat stressed.
The second option involves the introduction of sanctions and the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, despite the disapproval of the European Union, Russia and the PRC. This approach seems attractive only at first glance, since unilateral US sanctions do not harm Iran in any way, which can fully meet all its economic and technological needs through cooperation with countries that do not support American sanctions. Attempts by the US to impose sanctions against European companies working with Iran will lead to retaliatory actions on the part of the European Commission, and most likely the White House will abandon them in the same way as they failed to punish European companies investing in Nord Stream-2. The impotence of Washington’s sanctions badly affects the image of the world hegemon, and if the conflict is immediately transferred to the military plane, then there is a serious risk that the European Union will use such arbitrary behaviour as a pretext for reducing the level of military cooperation with the United States. Moreover, the European Union is already creating its own military structure, which British and American experts perceive as a “European alternative to NATO.”
The third option seems to be the most rational - to try to solve the Iranian problem on the diplomatic level. However, this approach is extremely undesirable for Trump's team for several reasons. The abandonment of sanctions and military pressure on Iran will be perceived as a sign of American weakness - and the weak, as we know, get beat. What’s more, the diplomatic restraint of the Trump administration will be perceived as a betrayal of some Middle Eastern allies of the United States, for whom the US military intervention against Iran is the last chance to compete for regional domination. The fate of traitors to such influential interest groups is very unenviable.
Good ways out of the situation into which the Trump team has gotten itself, have not yet been seen, and this is a rather positive situation from the standpoint of Russian interests. Our Washington opposition had a zugzwang - and now it is up to us to derive the maximum benefit from their inevitable mistakes.