In May 2018, the US government announced its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – better known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. The move alienated both Iran and American allies on the other side of the Atlantic, who insisted that the deal was crucial to European security interests.
President Trump disregarded pleas from Europeans and American critics and announced in a Tweet: “[a]nyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States.” This has effectively forced international companies to choose between the Iranian and the American market. While foreign ministers in the European Union, including Germany, promised that they would resist the sanctions, many companies have de fact already suspended their business in Iran.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif thwarted President Trump’s plan to negotiate a better deal by announcing that the country would not “waste its time” and warning that the US decision threatened regional stability. Zarif called on Europeans “to act in addition to voicing their political commitment.” This may come at high costs.
The battle lines have been drawn, which is where this panel enters. With experts, some of whom were involved in the negotiation of the original deal itself we ask: Where do we go from here? What are the alternatives to the deal? What are the different parties really trying to achieve and how can we preserve peace with Iran, prevent nuclear proliferation, and de-escalate tensions between all parties?