Foreign ministers from Iran and the European Union (EU) have kicked off their talks to salvage the nuclear deal after Trump violated and withdrew from it and now we have a better idea of what their deal may look like.
As expected, the focus is on shielding European and Iranian interests from economic sanctions reimposed by the Trump regime.
“I would like our debate to reconfirm without any doubt that as long as Iran respects the provisions of the deal, the EU will also respect it,” the chairman of the gathering, Donald Tusk, said before the meeting in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.
The head of the bloc’s executive, Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission, will also present options the leaders have to shield European investments in Iran and the slowly-reviving economic cooperation, which many EU states hope to benefit from.
These include protecting European companies dealing with Iran from U.S. sanctions, which in practice would be very difficult, allowing the European Investment Bank to invest there and coordinating euro-denominated credit lines from EU states.
The Washington Post has a little more detail:
Federica Mogherini, who negotiated the deal on behalf of the European Union, listed a string of proposals that taken together may not be enough to convince Iran’s leaders to hold to the deal but probably will be seen in Washington as a raised fist against U.S. policy. [...]
Comparing the 2015 nuclear agreement to “a relative in intensive care,” Mogherini said ideas under consideration include plans to deepen Europe’s economic relationship with Iran, shield banking transactions with Tehran, keep purchasing Iranian oil and gas, and use E.U. financing for investments there.
If European leaders convince Iran to abide by the terms of the deal by successfully shielding their business interests from economic sanctions, it's possible American companies will be the only companies prevented from doing business in Iran.
Iranian and European negotiators are expected to outline a deal within a few weeks and, in that case, the only difference between this month and next month will be Trump deciding that American companies can no longer sell products in Iran because Iran is bad. Trump will have cut off American interests for virtually no substantive reason.
Are we great yet?