Caught in the Middle, Europe Attempts to Balance Hostile U.S.-Iranian Relations

Feb 26, 2019 | 19:19 GMT
Iran holds its annual Dahe-ye Fajr celebrations in support of the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The 10-day event is a patriotic spectacle that often includes military parades, new missile unveilings and launch tests.

Iranians visit a weaponry and military equipment exhibition in Tehran on Feb. 2.


Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Since then, the European Union and the three European powers that also signed the deal -- France, the United Kingdom and Germany (known as the E3 bloc) -- have scrambled to keep it alive, simultaneously facing mounting pressure from the United States to penalize Iran for its regional behavior. Unlike Washington, however, Europe's primary concern remains nuclear proliferation, meaning Brussels has largely resisted using sanctions to penalize Iran for anything outside of its nuclear program -- that is, until now. Caught between the United States and Iran, Europe's collective strategy in recent months -- though not entirely consistent -- has been to strike a delicate balance: Increasing pressure on Iran to appease the United States, while also trying to keep Iran in the JCPOA. But by...


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