Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 14, 2020

Trump's EU Poodles - Germany, Britain And France - Obey His Order To Kill The Nuclear Deal With Iran

The European poodles who co-signed the nuclear deal with Iran - Britain, France and Germany (the EU3) - have been told by the Trump administration to kill the agreement. Today they started the process to do so. The other co-signers, Russia, China and Iran, continue to support the deal.


Despite claiming to support the nuclear deal the EU-3 always searched for ways to put more restrictions on Iran, especially on its ballistic missile program.

In May 2018 the U.S. left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA as the agreement is known, and reintroduced sanctions against Iran.

While the Europeans had said that they would continue to support the deal they have succumbed to the threat of secondary sanctions the U.S. said it would impose against them if they trade with Iran. As all payments between Iran and its trade partners are impeded by the sanctions, trade between Europe and Iran has come essentially to a halt. The Europeans have attempted to set up an alternative trade facilitating instrument known as INSTEX. But the mechanism, which also imposes additional conditions on Iran, has failed to function.

The Europeans could have implemented several other measures to counter the U.S. sanction threat. They failed to do so.

In June 2018 Iran triggered the Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the deal (explained below) by sending an official letter to the coordinator of JCPOA Joint Commission. A Joint Commission meeting was held in which the EU3 again promised that they would hold up their side of the deal:

6.​The participants recognised that, in return for the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments, the lifting of sanctions, including the economic dividends arising from it, constitutes an essential part of the JCPOA.
8.​The participants affirmed their commitment regarding the following objectives in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere:
  • the maintenance and promotion of wider economic and sectoral relations with Iran;
  • the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran;
  • the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas condensate, petroleum products and petrochemicals;

But those promises were empty. Trade between Europa and Iran failed to revive as the European countries failed to stand up against U.S. sanctions. By succumbing to Trump's secondary sanction threat the Europeans effectively reintroduced their own sanctions against Iran.

A year later and in consequence of the failure by the Europeans to provide effective sanction relief, as was promised under the JCPOA, Iran started to exceed certain limits the deal had set on its civil nuclear program. It justified the move by pointing to Article 26 of the JCPOA (pdf):

26. The EU will refrain from re-introducing or re-imposing the sanctions that it has terminated implementing under this JCPOA, without prejudice to the dispute resolution process provided for under this JCPOA. There will be no new nuclear- related UN Security Council sanctions and no new EU nuclear-related sanctions or restrictive measures. The United States will make best efforts in good faith to sustain this JCPOA and to prevent interference with the realisation of the full benefit by Iran of the sanctions lifting specified in Annex II.
Iran has stated that it will treat such a re-introduction or re-imposition of the sanctions specified in Annex II, or such an imposition of new nuclear-related sanctions, as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.

In five steps taken since, each two month apart, Iran began to use more modern types of Uranium enrichment centrifuges, increased the number of active centrifuges, lifted the level of enrichment and exceeded other limits the deal had set. All these steps were done under the watchful eyes of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which continues to observe and report all details of Iran's program. All these steps can easily be reversed should the other signatories fulfill their commitments under the deal.

Today Britain, France and Germany themselves triggered the Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the deal with a common letter:

The E3 have fully upheld our JCPoA commitments, including sanctions-lifting as foreseen under the terms of the agreement. In addition to the lifting of all sanctions, required by our commitments under the agreement, we have worked tirelessly to support legitimate trade with Iran, including through the INSTEX special purpose vehicle.
However, in the meantime Iran has continued to break key restrictions set out in the JCPoA. Iran’s actions are inconsistent with the provisions of the nuclear agreement and have increasingly severe and non-reversible proliferation implications.

We do not accept the argument that Iran is entitled to reduce compliance with the JCPoA. Contrary to its statements, Iran has never triggered the JCPoA Dispute Resolution Mechanism and has no legal grounds to cease implementing the provisions of the agreement.
We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments under the JCPoA and to refer this matter to the Joint Commission under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism, as set out in paragraph 36 of the JCPoA.

The approach is based on lies, extremely legalistic and unfair. Yes, technically the Europeans have lifted their sanctions. But at the same time they are imposing the U.S. sanctions against Iran. They do not buy Iranian oil or other products. They do not sell anything to Iran as payments from Iran are blocked. The outcome for Iran is no different than under the sanctions that were imposed before the deal was made. To point to the creation of INSTEX is laughable as no deals have been made under that mechanism beacause it only facilitates impractical barter deals and is restricted to certain products.

That Iran has "never triggered the JCPoA Dispute Resolution Mechanism" is an outright lie. The Joint Commission met on July 6 2018 at a ministerial level because Iran had triggered the mechanism. The Joint Statement issued after that meeting says so:

1.​ Upon the request of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was held on 6 July in Vienna at ministerial level. The Joint Commission met to discuss the way forward to ensure the continued implementation of the nuclear deal in all its aspects ...

The Dispute Resolution Mechanism, laid out in article 36 and 37 of the JCPOA, foresees a short time discussion period about the grievances that triggered it. Should those discussions fail to find a solution the issue is escalated to the UN Security Council. If the UNSC fails to vote on a resolution in favor of Iran all UN sanctions that were imposed on Iran before the JCPOA deal was signed will be automatically reactivated.

The timeline for the process is tight. First the Joint Commission of JCPOA signatory countries has fifteen days to find a solution. Then the foreign ministers of those countries have another fifteen days. Five days later any JCPOA signatory can escalate the issue to the UNSC. If the UNSC does not vote against the reintroduction of sanctions within 30 days, which the U.S. would surely prevent by using its veto right, UN sanctions against Iran will automatically snap-back.

As the EU3 now triggered the process, 65 days from now Iran is likely to be again under full UN sanctions.

The EU3 will of course mealymouthily explain that they want Iran to pull back its program so that it does not exceed any limit of deal. But why should Iran do that as long as the EU3 follow US sanctions against Iran and implement them against it? The EU3 have no reasonable answer to that questions.

Iran has no real incentive to stick to the JCPOA limits as long as sanctions are held up against it. When the UN sanctions snap back it is likely to leave the JCPOA even if China and Russia continue to trade with it.

The outcome here is 100% predictable. UN sanctions will snap back. Then the Trump administration will relaunch the 'nuclear Iran' propaganda campaign and will threaten Iran with war.

The EU countries who failed to hold up the deal will now globally be perceived as the poodles they are. They will, like the U.S., be seen as 'agreement incapable' countries who fail to stick to the deals they make. Their utterly servile behavior towards the U.S. is disastrous for their reputation.

Posted by b on January 14, 2020 at 19:23 UTC | Permalink

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"Hitler was evil. That seems to be generally agreed. But he won elections."
No he didn't. The only elections that he won were after he had taken power and put his opponents in jail. Then he campaigned, using the Storm Troopers and the police forces of the various states-Prussia most notably where Goering was Minister-President and controlled the police- to intimidate any opposition.
It is an old Conservative talking point and a prime argument of enemies of democracy to insist that Hitler won elections. In fact he lost lots of them. It was this unpopularity that gave the militarist/industrialist coterie surrounding Hindenburg confidence that they could control the Bohemian corporal they despised.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 16 2020 0:55 utc | 201

@200 Absolutely right. I should have said he won elections unfairly. Let's just say he struck a chord with the German people and especially with the military.

Posted by: dh | Jan 16 2020 1:10 utc | 202

@201 Skilful propaganda did the rest.

Posted by: dh | Jan 16 2020 1:11 utc | 203

WaPo: Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25% tariff on European autos if they didn’t

The U.S. effort to coerce European foreign policy through tariffs, a move one European official equated to “extortion,” represents a new level of hardball tactics with the United States’ oldest allies, underscoring the extraordinary tumult in the transatlantic relationship.
U.S. officials conveyed the threat directly to officials in London, Berlin and Paris rather than through their embassies in Washington, said a senior European official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations.

Posted by: b | Jan 15 2020 19:40 utc | 175

We have to reassess if EU countries are poodles. I mean, you do not have to whip poodles to make them obedient. Nevertheless, EU proved to be useless: a trading block implies a bargain, surrender some options in the domestic economy but enjoy a shield from economic blackmail that individual countries cannot have. Historically, there was a number of trade disputes between USA and EU with sanctions and counter-sanctions and EU was proving its value. And they do not even like Trump. But few cracks of the whip, and discipline is restored.

With smaller countries, at least in Europe, there is no concept of national dignity. One has to pick the hegemon and follow. When the choice was Soviets or Nazis, patriotic duty was to follow Nazis, until a better option appeared, ie. USA. If ingratiating to Israel scores brownie points with the hegemon, that will be done, like helping in hunting Jews during WWII. But Germany, France and even UK had such a concept. What went wrong?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 16 2020 1:39 utc | 204

This article from RT says Putin leaving 2024, and is also taking2 away a lot of the powers of the President

Posted by: Debs | Jan 16 2020 1:48 utc | 205

Formerly T-Bear | Jan 15 2020 13:57 utc | 150
Does this new 'Policy of Deterrence' apply only to Iran? Could become interesting if it doesn't. Good example of 'be careful of what you wish for'.

No, as I said @ 104; it applies to Russia and China as well.
Be careful what you wish for indeed!
The sheer hubris of Pompeo is astonishing to say the least.
If he and his ilk think they'll be able to assassinate a top commander of either Russia or China they're more insane than even I can imagine. A guaranteed WWIII starter...
Frankly, I think it's just childish braggadocio...

Posted by: V | Jan 16 2020 2:10 utc | 206

V | Jan 16 2020 2:10 utc

Logic of "deterrence" is perilous indeed. Suppose that country R develops suspicion that country U can strike at its leader as having central importance in activities and plots against country U, allies and everything decent people hold dear, say by insisting on constructing pipelines where they should not. Such a brazen attack would require a decisive response, say, destroying island DG with a large military base of U, and, luck has it, no civilians. But why wait for an actual strike if one can send an ICBM PREVENTATIVELY?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 16 2020 4:04 utc | 207

#193 Bubbles Trump's grandfather made some of his fortune from brothels in the Canadian Klondike. I guess pu$$y grabbing was a family thing.

Posted by: Tom | Jan 16 2020 4:55 utc | 208

Piotr Berman | Jan 16 2020 4:04 utc | 206

Indeed. Escalation is the easy road to hell.
De-escalation and working for peace requires skill and intellegence.
Very little of either seemingly emanating from the U.S...
U.S. diplomacy (non-existent) only comes fron the barrel of a gun or the drone fired missile...

Posted by: V | Jan 16 2020 4:55 utc | 209

Piotr Berman 203 "We have to reassess if EU countries are poodles."

Poodles is a bit upmarket. Just call them curs or mongrel dogs.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 16 2020 6:27 utc | 210

dh 199

Replace jews with muslims. Not much else is different the way things are shaping up. Fullblown militarism and nationalism.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 16 2020 6:30 utc | 211

@210 Hitler went after jews Slavs gypsies. Sure there are people in the U.S. Who would like open season on Muslims blacks Hispanics gays and jews. I can't see Trump going that far.

Posted by: dh | Jan 16 2020 9:03 utc | 212

Its from ZH but i think they are on to something:

Trump Secretly Threatened Europe With Auto Tariffs If It Didn't Declare Iran In Breach Of Nuclear Deal

Posted by: d. | Jan 16 2020 10:30 utc | 213

@ dh | Jan 16 2020 9:03 utc | 212

Hitler went after jews Slavs gypsies

And anarchists, and communists, and socialists, and chronically impaired and disabled people, and and and.

Anyway, Trump won't be going after gays and jews. The rest of em? Fair game.

Posted by: Lurk | Jan 16 2020 11:20 utc | 214

The auto import tariffs would only hurt Germany. The French automobile industry exports only to Africa.

Since French wine is generally not as good as its supposed to be, in practice only the very expensive and posh French wines can be threatened with import tariffs. That would only add to their exclusivity and would not stop the USA overclasses from indulging, quite to the contrary. Do they not crave Cuban cigars?

Posted by: Lurk | Jan 16 2020 11:26 utc | 215

Posted by: Lurk | Jan 16 2020 11:26 utc | 215

"The auto import tariffs would only hurt Germany. The French automobile industry exports only to Africa."

You think the US wouldn't lean on Africa if they wanted to? And they may have wanted to if they'd imposed the tariff - it seems by now the US has gone all in on trying to inflict itself everywhere thru little more than bullying and force.

The most obvious Hitler comparison is how, once the war was turning against Germany, Hitler would never hear of prudent withdrawals, giving ground here to make a stronger defense there, any kind of weighing options or triage. On the contrary, he kept demanding that every single square yard be held. At the same time he increasingly disdained even pretending to play a diplomatic game, offering incentives etc., but resorted to brute force as the only option.

I sometimes compare the timeline of Germany in WWII to a likely timeline of the US empire and wonder at point in the German experience the US now is. It seems there hasn't yet been a Stalingrad (not that the US Stalingrad-surrender will necessarily be so dramatic a discrete event), but perhaps things are like the latter half of 1942 - increasing setbacks, while ongoing advances are becoming much more difficult and with diminishing returns.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 16 2020 11:43 utc | 216

Damn, Israel looks like THAT?!

Posted by: Smith | Jan 16 2020 11:50 utc | 217

@ Russ | Jan 16 2020 11:43 utc | 216

Yes, USA could interfere with French interests in Africa, in fact that is what they have been doing for a while already. Who do you think nurtuted and armed all those subsaharan jihadists?

Although France has much bigger stakes in Africa than cars and car parts, these other stakes are technically not automobiles. And USA is already pestering them in Africa anyway, so how much more can that be escalated even more?

One of the risks of Crook in Chief's "bullying instead of diplomacy" approach is that he will run out of viable threats to make. Once you have rampaged someone's place, saying "nice shop you have there, shame if anything happened to it" doesn't have much of an effect anymore.

Posted by: Lurk | Jan 16 2020 12:36 utc | 218

@ Posted by: Russ | Jan 16 2020 11:43 utc | 216

Soviet historians divide the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) in three periods.

The first period (1941-1942) marks the time where Germany thought and acted as it could win the war quickly.

The second period (1942-1943) marks the time where the USSR thought they could repel Germany quickly from its occupied territory.

The third period (1943-1944) marks the time where both the USSR and Germany finally realized the war would be a gruesome and slow one, where every inch of terrain would be fiercely contested.

The interesting thing about the first two periods was that it is obvious both sides used Napoleaon's invasion of Russia as a model of how things would pan out. They were two hundred years and a lot of technology apart, but the specter of that war still probably inhabited the imaginary of both commanders-in-chief (Hitler for sure, Stalin maybe).

There's also the human factor: it is our instinct to want to have bad things and very traumatic events to end as quickly as possible, so it is perfectly understandable that both sides wanted to achieve quick victories over the other side.

The funny thing is that Stalin's anxiousness to repel the Germans quickly after Stalingrad with the expectation to repeat Napoleon's flight from Russia became a self-fullfilling prophecy: exactly in order to avoid Napoleon's embarassment, Hitler gave the order for the Germans not to retreat from the Soviet space. This resulted in the long protracted war that marked the Third Period.

Yes, ultimately, Germany had no option, since its most urgent need was oil and the only viable source known at the time available for conquest to them was in the Caucasus, but its curious to observe how simple and immediate material needs can quickly metamorphose into a spiritual narrative.

Posted by: vk | Jan 16 2020 12:57 utc | 219

@214 'And anarchists, and communists, and socialists, and chronically impaired and disabled people, and and and. Anyway, Trump won't be going after gays and jews. The rest of em? Fair game.'

And homeless people. Nobody will be safe once Operation Cleanup begins. Not even Trump. Americans have been waiting a long time to shoot the hell out of each other.

Posted by: dh | Jan 16 2020 13:45 utc | 220

Posted by: kooshy | Jan 15 2020 18:22 utc | 173
a mercenary force, No Trump is proud he sold 3000 US trops to Bone saw for 1 billion.

Hmmm? Indeed. Have to take a closer look.

PL: in a nutshell: strictly I wondered how long I made it. Seeing so many banned over all those years from very, very early on. Often people that it felt that could have shown one "basic defect" only in his eyes. ... To then having me publicly discussed as case in point: Should or shouldn't I be banned, was or wasn't I a troll? In hindsight a campaign over quite some time, after first targeting me with Fred--ridicule enterprise, supposedly I was an agent--was one of the more peculiar affairs. In hindsight again, I regretted to having been too transparent. Allowed him to misuse me for public display. One really very, very earlier example: I once used a different aka in a comment to him for a very, very specific reason, but the same email address. This allowed him a rather silly public display at authority. ... I have tested it before, but I guess I had to get really, really sick about a shared ridicule circle at the one point in time to finally make it, or get myself banned too. AO-C ridicule was the vogue then. Thus, my ill-informed guess is, you may have felt pretty sick at that point too?

He once invited me as junior contributor but simultaneously he dictated the topic to me. Not a bad topic either. ... strictly.

Mercenary force? I had that in mind vaguely too in the early post 9/11 universe. Forget when and why at the moment. You once made the most sensible comment on SST in a then still rather long comment section, but forget too what that was. But I am sure, I responded to tell you.

Take care, be well.

Posted by: moon | Jan 16 2020 15:27 utc | 221

Just to keep it registered, the rumors about the auto industry are confirmed officially:

German Defence Minister Confirms Reports of Trump's Threats to Slap EU With Higher Tariffs Over Iran

Posted by: vk | Jan 16 2020 15:40 utc | 222

Nobody has bothered to mention that an atomic explosion requires a minimum of 90% enrichment of uranium, while Iran is being bullied over a mere 20% enrichment level.

Posted by: Vonu | Jan 16 2020 17:44 utc | 223


Enrichment is not a linear process.
20% is half the way or something like that.

Posted by: Parisian Guy | Jan 16 2020 18:18 utc | 224

Parisian Guy@224.

Now that could explain Bibi's childish bomb diagram he waved around in front of the world.

I had just thought it fairly safe to assume he was of the level of mental development where he still smears his own excrement on the walls (and on himself)...

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Jan 16 2020 18:34 utc | 225

The Guardian: Trump made his tariffs threat to Europe relatively recently and European diplomats insist they had already made the decision in principle to trigger the dispute mechanism because of previous Iranian steps away from the deal, but had not announced the move in deference to a request from China.

As a result they claim the Trump threat did not push Europe into abandoning its policy of trying to keep the nuclear deal with Iran alive.


??? So they are poodles, no whip necessary. Or the lie. Whatever.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 16 2020 20:25 utc | 226

"Hey Godwin hold my 'mostly soda' please"

Oh that wasn't the topic of this thread? :P

Hitler this, Hitler that, "history (HAH!) says Z", "Y has no national dignity", "X has no culture", listen to yourselves!

I'll restrict myself to "X has no culture" because it is one of the lamest tropes there is, for example the US has plenty of culture (and it's not Hollywood, nor "only Black" or "only anything") just as Sweden (another place accused of having no culture) has plenty of culture. It was disappointing when Putin some time ago more or less said the US has no culture but then again no one is perfect and everyone is an idiot in some regard, even Putin.

The "no culture" thing is bigoted (not racist) and/or self-hating swill no matter if it's someone who can't enjoy a souk (commercial!) or a rodeo or dancing around a maypole (to use caricatures).

Irony of ironies Goering got it right (but in a wrong way) when he wanted to reach for his shotgun when anyone talks about culture. Same as how most people (including lovely Dr. Irving Finkel of the British Museum!) ridicules the "culture" of "intellectuals" which is where both the "no culture" idiocy as well as Goering's "culture!" annoyance stems from.

Listen to yourselves, what are you really saying?

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jan 17 2020 0:41 utc | 227

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