Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a busy man these days. He’s logging enough frequent flyer miles book free vacations for the rest of his life. Today he’s in Brussels to push back on the European Union as they prepare to try to salvage the Iran nuclear deal without America’s support. By the way… remind me again why we’re so worried about offending the EU anymore? It’s not as if they’re really coming down on the right side of history in a lot of current debates. (Washington Post)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday arrived Brussels in an unplanned visit with European foreign ministers who had been meeting to bolster the faltering Iran nuclear deal against a U.S. assault.
The last-minute decision — announced as he hopped on a plane — set up a confrontation between Pompeo and European diplomats who have been scrambling to save the deal.
Iranian leaders announced last week they would scale back their cooperation under the agreement, in essence forcing Europe to choose between defying Washington or kissing goodbye to the 2015 deal. Europe sees it as key to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.
Three nations in particular, Germany, France, and the UK, seem to be sticking with current sanctions while trying to save the Iran deal. But how serious of a deal can there be if the United States isn’t signing on? And as long as Iran refuses to allow unhindered access for IAEA inspections, their word shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than North Korea’s. (And I’m sure you’ve seen how far we’ve gotten with them on nothing more than promises and handshakes.)
Iran is threatening to step up uranium refinement if they don’t come out of this with some sort of deal they find palatable. But as far as the west is concerned, we don’t even have sufficient proof that they’re not doing it already. Frankly, it looks as if the west would have almost all the cards in this game right now. If Iran walks away, we’re back to maximum sanctions from almost everyone and Iran loses a lot of their oil exporting business. But if they want to come to the table and make a viable offer that Donald Trump can accept, we could put this behind us. (At least for the time being. Iran will never be trustworthy over the long run unless their current government is removed.)
I wish Pompeo luck in talking to the EU Foreign Ministers, but I’m not terribly hopeful for any real progress. The EU seems determined to undermine the United States in these efforts and that only emboldens Iran to make even more outrageous demands. At the same time, they’re pushing the issue to a jagged edge. It’s suspected that the Iranians went after a Saudi cargo ship last week. And now we have our naval forces cruising around in their neighborhood. If this situation completely blows up, it’s going to be Iran’s fault in terms of the hellfire that follows. It would just be nice if the EU could keep themselves on the side of the good guys here.