On Geopolitics

As the U.S. Squeezes Iran, Europe Is Stuck in the Middle

Matthew Bey
Senior Global Analyst, Stratfor
Emily Hawthorne
Middle East and North Africa Analyst, Stratfor
Jan 30, 2020 | 09:00 GMT
Construction of a second phase at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, part of the Iranian civilian nuclear program, continues.

Laborers work at the construction site of the second phase of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran, on Nov. 10, 2019. As it tries to break the U.S. maximum pressure campaign, Iran will continue to expand its nuclear program as it tries to maneuver around the U.S. maximum sanctions campaign.

(AHMAD HALABISAZ/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Tensions between the United States and Iran will almost certainly escalate once again later this year as Iran's nuclear program continues to expand. Iran is likely to continue to be more aggressive on its nuclear policy because of U.S. sanctions despite EU efforts to dissuade Iran from doing so, and if the European Union does not proceed with the dispute resolution mechanism, then the United States may find a way to force sanctions to snap back on its own initiative. It will also exert diplomatic pressure -- backed by threats of punitive measures -- on the E3 to take a harder line against Iran. Iran, however, is unlikely to budge on the U.S. maximum pressure campaign before the November U.S. presidential election. And this creates the potential for a crisis involving a limited military confrontation. ...

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