But in light of the Trump administration’s warmer relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia as well as Washington’s perception of Iran as a major problem in the region, a tougher stance by Washington can be expected. As a consequence, while the Trump administration appears interested in continuing to implement the JCPOA, the overall momentum of Iran-US relations has already shifted toward the more confrontational.
This leaves European officials and business leaders in a difficult position. Politically, European leaders strongly advocated for the JCPOA, with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini stressing that there “should be no doubt that the EU stands firmly by the deal.”
With the change in Washington, Tehran has also begun to more greatly appreciate the importance of the EU in preserving the JCPOA. However, it should not be forgotten that Europe’s means to enforce the nuclear deal should relations between Tehran and Washington further deteriorate are rather limited.
As such, economic exchanges between Iran and the EU can be characterized as having entered a wait-and-see mode. At the minimum, European business leaders will want to be certain about the ongoing US commitment to the JCPOA. As the Trump administration’s approach to Iran is only beginning to take shape, both in terms of staffing and policy, the wait-and-see stage will likely prevail at least until May, if not longer.
(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)