With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the European Union has decided to stake its diplomatic credibility on the nuclear deal the Obama administration concluded with Iran.
Last Thursday, the EU announced it was transferring $20 million to Iran to offset the impact of U.S. sanctions. EU foreign policy commissioner Federica Mogherini said it was part of a wider $58 million aid package to convince Iran to remain in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — that is, then-President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
The EU’s announcement followed other anti-American, pro-Iranian moves. Those included approving regulations to protect EU firms from U.S. sanctions if they continue to trade with Iran, and barring EU firms from ending their trade with Iran to comply with U.S. sanctions.
Last Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas published an op-ed calling for the EU to set up a system to conduct financial transactions “independent of the U.S.” Maas’s idea is to enable Europe to continue to carry out banking operations with Iran outside the framework of the SWIFT system, which the U.S. largely controls.
One of the odd aspects of the EU’s brazen and openly hostile preference for the nuclear deal with Iran to good relations with the U.S. is that the policy was not adopted in response to desperate lobbying by EU firms. Since President Donald Trump announced he was withdrawing the U.S. from the nuclear deal in May, the major European firms operating in Iran announced they were pulling out to protect their business interests in the much larger U.S. market.
The U.S., for its part, protested against the EU’s latest decision to subsidize the Iranian economy. Brian Hook, the newly -appointed State Department special representative for Iran, slammed the EU for the aid funds. Hook released a statement saying that the aid “sends the wrong message at the wrong time.”
“Foreign aid from European taxpayers perpetuates the regime’s ability to neglect the needs of its people and stifles meaningful policy changes.
“More money in the hands of the Ayatollahs means more money to conduct assassinations in those very European countries,” Hook added.
It is, at first, hard to understand why Europe has chosen to risk upending its relations with Washington to preserve the JCPOA — aside from the financial gains some European companies hope to preserve.
On technical grounds, it makes no sense. The Iran deal was not a formal agreement. No one signed it. No one is legally bound to maintain it.
Moreover, the foundation of the deal was a lie. As Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have said, the premise of the deal was a false Iranian claim that its nuclear program was entirely peaceful.
Israel’s revelation in May of the Iranian nuclear archive, which the Mossad espionage organization seized from a warehouse in Tehran, proved beyond doubt that the reason Iran is developing nuclear capabilities is to build a nuclear arsenal. The Iranian nuclear archive included nuclear bomb designs and designs for ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Then there is the fact that Iran violated both the spirit and the letter of the JCPOA.
Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles violated the spirit of the JCPOA. Iran’s uranium enrichment activities and its heavy water production — both in excess of JCPOA’s limitations — were likewise a violation of the letter of the agreement. So too, Iran’s refusal to open its military nuclear installations to UN inspectors put paid to the claim that the JCPOA limited its nuclear activities in any real sense. Iran’s continued ballistic missile tests and development activities were also a violation of the spirit of the deal.
At the same time European political leaders were meeting with Iranian leaders to concoct a strategy to undermine the U.S. in June, European security officials prevented an Iranian government-led terror attack against an Iranian opposition rally in Paris. The foiled attack was to be carried out by an Iranian diplomat registered to the Iranian embassy in Vienna.
In short, the deal the Europeans have chosen to fight for is a failure, based on a lie. Far from blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal, the JCPOA guarantees its path. And the Europeans know it. So the EU is now in an open fight with Washington in order to advance Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.
If the substance of the JCPOA weren’t enough to dissuade the Germans, French, and British from maintaining their strange devotion to the deal, there is the inconvenient fact that it isn’t even their deal.
True, they were included in later stages of the negotiations. And Mogherini was even allowed to present herself as the chief negotiator. But the fact is that this was an agreement between the U.S. and Iran.
Reaching a nuclear deal with Iran was Obama’s central goal in his second term. The Obama administration initiated the negotiations in secret talks with the Iranians in Oman. If the Obama administration had not led the talks, Democrats — formerly sensible on the subject — would not have abandoned their principles to support the deal that ensured Iran’s path to the bomb.
Then there is the plain fact that from an economic perspective, the EU’s stubborn insistence on defying the U.S. on behalf of Iran is insane. The U.S. market accounts for ten percent of Germany’s total exports.
Militarily, despite German bravado that it can afford for the U.S. to abandon them, the fact is that the U.S. has 33,000 troops and a nuclear arsenal stationed permanently in Germany to defend it. And without U.S. and Israeli intelligence assistance, the Europeans would be all but helpless to defend themselves against terror cells operating in Europe.
In conversations with Breitbart News, senior U.S. officials attested that the EU’s policy on Iran is being steered by Germany. France was never particularly enthusiastic about the nuclear deal. Indeed, in 2013 and in 2015, French objections to the weak inspections regime and the JCPOA’s allowance of continued uranium enrichment nearly blocked the deal.
As for Britain, the officials maintain that British Prime Minister Theresa May is siding with Germany against the U.S. out of fear of harming Britain’s chances of negotiating a favorable Brexit deal.
Which brings us to the question of what is motivating the German government to side with Iran against Washington.
Germany has long been Iran’s protector in Europe. Merkel is the reason that the EU has refused to outlaw Hezbollah. Due to Germany, the EU made an artificial distinction between the Iranian proxy group’s “military wing” and its “civilian wing.” The latter is permitted to operate legally in EU member states. Hezbollah thus uses its presence in Europe to indoctrinate and recruit members and to fundraise. As the Jerusalem Post has reported, German intelligence estimates that there are 950 Hezbollah terrorists operating in Germany.
The U.S. officials claim that Merkel is siding with Iran against the U.S. because despite the fact that the JCPOA was a U.S. initiative, she views it as a European foreign policy achievement. She believes the JCPOA is proof that Europe can have a foreign policy independent of Washington.
It is notable in this vein that Merkel has chosen to adopt a policy of enabling Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, and to operate terror cells openly in Europe, as a mean of distinguishing Europe from America.
To a degree, this isn’t surprising. EU member states have only been able to coalesce around one common foreign policy: hostility to Israel.
Only last week, the EU issued an angry condemnation of Israel for announcing it was issuing permits for 382 new homes in its communities in Judea. The EU and European member states invest in excess of $125 million annually to support networks of anti-Israel NGOs in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Europe. These NGOs delegitimize Israel’s right to exist, support economic boycotts of Israel, work to turn Israel’s Arab citizens against their state, and support Palestinian terror groups. At the UN, there are few anti-Israel initiatives that do not pass with European support.
Since the OPEC oil embargo in 1974, Western European countries have used their hostility towards Israel as a means to distinguish themselves from the U.S. It costs them nothing, since Israel is at a trade disadvantage with Europe. And it appeals to the antisemitic and anti-American sentiments held by a large percentage of Europeans.
Just two few days before Maas wrote his article calling for the EU to develop a new financial network to undermine U.S. sanctions and keep trading with Iran (and so enable the regime to survive, continue sponsoring terrorism and waging war while developing nuclear weapons), he visited the German death camp Auschwitz. While at the site of the largest death factory in human history, he said, “We need this place because our responsibility never ends.”
How odd, given the German government’s decision to pin its independence on its ability to help Iran’s regime overcome U.S. sanctions and develop the means to annihilate Israel and murder the six-and-a-half million Jews that live there.