The Europeans’ determination to keep the appalling Iran nuclear deal going, following President Trump’s decision to pull the US out of it, makes very little sense on its own declared terms.
Leave aside the shocking determination of Britain, France and Germany to continue to milk one of the deal’s most disturbing features: that it enabled the Iranian regime to pocket more than $1.7 billion which it used to fund Hezbollah and Hamas, build its missile infrastructure to destroy Israel and attack the west, and deploy proxy armies to bring conflict and chaos in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere.
Leave aside also whether Britain and the Europeans will be forced to choose between trade deals with America and trade deals with Iran – in which it is hard to imagine they would choose Iran. The essence of a deal is that the parties give something to each other. What do Britain and Europe think they can plausibly show they will now get from Iran?
First, the regime blustered that the end of the deal meant they would restart uranium enrichment on which they had made great strides (so much for the deal supposedly having put a stop to all that). Then Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, said he would seek to salvage the deal with the Europeans regardless of the US departure.
Britain and the Europeans have maintained with a straight face that the deal had stopped Iran’s nuclear weapons programme. Why should the regime even pretend to stop its nuclear programme for them, though, given that the Iranians’ main incentive, to get sanctions lifted by the US, has now vanished? To put it another way, why would it (ostensibly) provide what the US wanted, only to receive nothing from the US in return?