Vienna talks great opportunity for Europe

Vienna talks great opportunity for Europe – Tehran%20Times

TEHRAN- Just as Europe failed to take an independent position after Trump’s departure from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it is not also willing to define an identity independent of the United States through a historic decision in the process of the Vienna negotiations.

Though the Americans are not directly involved in the Vienna talks they are constantly commenting on the talks, the Fars news agency said in a commentary on Sunday.

For example, in an interview with Reuters, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken claimed, “What we’ve seen in the last couple of days is that Iran right now does not seem to be serious about doing what’s necessary to return to compliance, which is why we ended this round of talks in Vienna,” Blinken told Reuters.”

Blinken’s comment suggests that despite the fact that the U.S. is not directly involved in the talks, it oversees the negotiation process and the decisions of the European parties. 

History of U.S. Unilateralism

U.S. unilateralism and disregard for international obligations is a constant feature of U.S. foreign policy and is a consistent practice that has sometimes accelerated.

U.S. aggressive and unilateral behavior has historical roots, a behavior that has become more recurrent in various ways over the past two decades.

Bush is initiator of unilateralism 

With the beginning of the third millennium, especially during the presidency of George W. Bush, the repercussions of the unilateralism became apparent, as exemplified by the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Although Barack Obama, during his presidency, tried to make the United States a supporter of multilateralism, once again during the Donald Trump administration, the United States returned to its roots.

Under Trump, unilateralism was unprecedentedly strengthened, shocking the international system. Trump’s “retreat” doctrine started since the very first days he entered the White House. The world became a witness to the domino effects of disregard for international obligations under the shadow of his unilateralist policies.

During this four-year presidency, the United States unilaterally turned its back on dozens of key international treaties and organizations, some of which included the Pacific Trade Agreement (TPP), the Paris Climate Agreement, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations migration treaty, New York treaty, United Nations Human Rights Council, World Health Organization (WHO), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and Treaty on Open Skies.

Europe’s efforts to break yoke of U.S. and strengthen multilateralism

From 1950, when then-French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presented a plan for European cooperation in coal and steel industry to end economic strife between the two countries, until 2007, when Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union, 57 years passed, but these 57 years mark the beginning of a historic step to strengthen multilateralism and to stand up to U.S. unilateral liberalism.

U.S. attempt to undermine EU through Brexit 

That is why the United States has made every effort to defeat the European Union and perhaps the most obvious fruit of this effort has been Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union known as Brexit. Britain was one of the great powers of the European Union, which was playing an important and influential role in international developments. Britain has been working hard to slow down convergence in Europe and opposed turning the union into a European federation. In addition, Britain has not been happy with a common European foreign and security policy and has sought to adopt independent security and defense policies.

Britain’s withdrawal from the EU as a nuclear and veto-wielding country will reduce Europe’s weight and bargaining power at the international level, and this is not in Europe’s interest in the short term. Although some consider Brexit to be to the detriment of the United States in the long run, most political commentators do not see the unification of European countries in favor of the unilateral U.S. policies.

Failure in the UN Security Council

The U.S. unilateralist approach toward Iran was such that its closest allies repeatedly criticized the White House in words and deeds and distanced themselves from Washington’s policies.

The U.S. defeat at the UN Security Council in August 2020 was a historic victory for Iran. It showed that the world is fed up with U.S. unilateralism. At the council meeting, despite the continuous efforts and projections of Trump’s team, the U.S. proposed a resolution to extend the arms embargo on Iran but it was flatly rejected.

At the time, the Guardian said the U.S. suffered a humiliating defeat at the UN as its proposal to extend arms embargo on Iran won support from only the Dominican Republic at the security council vote.

The U.S. resolution was never likely to be passed in the face of Russian and Chinese opposition. It was proposed as a ploy by the Trump administration to open the way to more drastic action against Iran.

But the scale of the defeat underlined U.S. isolation on the world stage.

The U.S. stripped anti-Iran rhetoric from earlier drafts of the resolution in the hope of recruiting more supporters, but its insistence that an extension to the UN embargo would be indefinite made that impossible. Estonia and Tunisia withstood eleventh-hour U.S. pressure to support the revised draft, a measure of diminished American clout at the UN. Russia and China voted against the resolution, the U.S. and the Dominican Republic voted in favor, and all the other council members, including Britain and France, abstained.

Vienna talks are another opportunity for Europe

The Americans are not directly involved in the current Vienna talks, which means an implicit endorsement of Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA by the Biden administration. This has nothing to do with the new Iranian administration and its policies, because the United States did not attend the meeting that was held virtually on December 21, 2020, in which “the ministers once again expressed their deep regret over the withdrawal of the United States from the agreement and reiterated that Resolution 2231 is still fully binding.”

Resolution 2231 endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The U.S. behavior in breaching international obligations, which has become a trademark of the American foreign policy, by both Republicans and Democrats, also undermines international capacities and the independence of European countries.

At the end of the recent Vienna meeting, Deputy FM of Iran Ali Bagheri, in response to a question about the dissatisfaction of the European sides with Iran’s proposals, said: “It is true that the European sides were not satisfied with our proposals, but the important point is that these proposals are based on common principles between the two sides; therefore, they did not object to the fact that these proposals are irrelevant, but said that they do not correspond to their views. I also told them that this is normal and that we are not going to say things in the negotiations that are in line with your views. We say things based on our own views, interests and policies, but the important thing is that these suggestions are based on one basis and that basis is accepted by the other side. Everyone agreed on this [issue], and no one and no European party claimed in any way that Iran’s proposals lacked a legal basis acceptable to both parties.”

Bagheri’s remarks indicate that the Europeans consider Iran’s proposals legal and based on international law. For example, Iran’s insistence on lifting sanctions is one of Iran’s proposals, because sanctions have no clear legal basis and are based solely on the political will of the Americans, depriving European countries and other countries of the Iranian market and putting pressure on the Iranian people and it is natural that they should be lifted.

Europeans have been resisting U.S. unilateralism for more than 60 years and the preconditions and proposed packages that Iran has put forward in the Vienna talks have created a unique opportunity for the Europeans to continue to defy U.S. unilateralism. By striking a historic agreement with Iran the Europeans can make the U.S. pay heavily for its violation of legal and international rules, even though such an agreement will have economic and political costs for Europe. Such a policy will promote their status and identity.


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