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May 15, 2005

The EU Comes In Handy

Speaking of nuclear stuff: Longtime readers of my blog know that I've taken something of an interest in the European Union. Today, Xinhua is reporting that Iran doesn't want the EU to give up the ghost on stalling its nuclear progress:

Iran warned the European Union (EU) Sunday that the next round of negotiators between the two sides will be the last chance to save the stalled nuclear talks.

"Iran has decided to negotiate with the European trio (France, Germany and Britain) for one more time upon their request, and the upcoming meeting will be their last chance," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told a weekly news briefing.

One problem: In the same article, it is revealed that Iran's parliament voted to resume uranium enrichment activities. If this whole thing were a movie script, the EU would currently be cast in the role of "Iran's patsy." In the short-term, this isn't so bad: The EU is still mostly a united front with the US, at least in terms of strategic objectives, and Iran is too visible for it to practice on anyone's credulous simplicity.

That said, this does seem troubling for EU enthusiasts. The worry here is that, in future situations, the EU will become a stalling mechanism for nations that would otherwise be staring down the barrel of sanctions or worse. If international diplomacy is all about incentives, the EU is in a precarious position: They need Iran as badly as Iran needs them, as a testing ground for a new diplomatic power that relies chiefly on soft-power incentives. They won't want to pull the trigger on sanctions or small-scale military action (e.g. bombing nuclear development sites), because pulling that trigger would mean that their own tactics - and a lot of their raison d'etre, foreign policy-wise - had been judged obsolete. Will the EU be so eager to prove themselves as an important power that they fail to acknowledge the increasingly obvious reality of Iran's nuclear ambitions - and provide Iran procedural cover in the process? Only time will tell.

- Daniel A. Munz

May 15, 2005 in Europe | Permalink

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Comments

The worry here is that, in future situations, the EU will become a stalling mechanism for nations that would otherwise be staring down the barrel of sanctions or worse.

Kinda reminds one of the United Nations, doesn't it?

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | May 15, 2005 2:47:53 PM

Yes, the lack of a second vote in the UN really helped Iraq, didn't it?

Posted by: The Dark Avenger | May 15, 2005 3:04:13 PM

As european I don't think that we need especially Iran.
I think it's normal that Iran could have Nuclear bomb like France (I'm french).
One day many country on earth will have nuclear bomb
it will be not a closed club of western country.
Anyway chinese wich are more dangerous than Iranian have nuclear bomb.

Posted by: JLS | May 16, 2005 7:02:02 AM

Key fact: The USA sees a nuclear Iran as an unacceptable option. The EU sees a nuclear Iran as an undesirable but acceptable option.

Posted by: Carlos | May 16, 2005 8:11:39 AM

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