As hope fades for Tehran’s compliance on the nuclear deal, the Europeans will get tougher. In short, they will find themselves closer and closer to the American position. They may not feel compelled to rattle their sabers in the fashion so beloved by the Trump regime, but European sanctions would damage an Iranian economy already reeling from American strictures.
Iran is still hoping to forestall this eventuality. Rouhani’s 60-day moratorium for the Europeans is a last attempt to cleave the Western alliance, to pry the Europeans away from the U.S. The Iranians have hoped for such a division ever since the U.S. pulled out of the deal: it hasn’t happened in the past 12 months, and it won’t in the next two.
Rouhani didn’t do the Iranian cause any favors with a naked attempt at blackmail. If the Europeans didn’t deliver, he said, Iran would cut back on its efforts to prevent the flow of migrants and drugs into Europe. This is a threat he has made before. It is the diplomatic equivalent of, “Fine continent you’ve got there… Shame if something were to happen to it.”