Not all EU members favor SPV: Shireen Hunter

TEHRAN, Jan. 13 (MNA) – Shireen Tahmaasb Hunter, a professor of Political Science at Georgetown University, tells the Tehran Times that “it was clear from the beginning that establishing a special and separate channel for commercial dealings between Iran and Europe would not be easy.”

“Not all EU members favor such measures. Many of them believe that pressure on Iran would lead to desired result in other areas beyond JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), although they still pay lip service to the agreement,” Hunter tells the Tehran Times.

She adds that “I think Iran relied too much on Federica Mogherini's assurances, but her influence is limited.”

Following is the text the interview:

Due to US is opposed to the financial mechanism between Europe and Iran and pushes European countries to prevent the implementation of the financial channel as called SPV, do you think this financial mechanism (SPV) will be implemented between Iran and Europe?

It was clear from the beginning that establishing a special and separate channel for commercial dealings between Iran and Europe would not be easy. American opposition is one element in this picture. In general, bypassing the established global channels of commercial and financial exchanges is not easy even with the best of intentions. Meanwhile, not all EU members favor such measures. Many of them believe that pressure on Iran would lead to desired result in other areas beyond JCPOA, although they still pay lip service to the agreement. I think Iran relied too much on Federica Mogherini's assurances, but her influence is limited.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi recently said that European countries were not able to implement the SPV because of US pressure. On the other hand, the failure to implement the SPV and the failure of the financial mechanism between Iran and EU may lead to inappropriate results in relations between Iran and EU. In your opinion, if the financial mechanism of Iran and the EU fails, what will be the fate of the nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action)?

If Iran becomes convinced that Europe is incapable of fulfilling its part of the commitments under the JCPOA it will face a serious dilemma: If it continues to honor its commitments under the JCPOA, it would demonstrate how limited its options in reality are. If it decides to exit the agreement, it would face greater pressure from all sides, including Russia and China. It would also provide the hawks in America with excuse to push for more drastic, including military actions. Already, the Trump administration has appointed a new member of the NSC (Richard Goldberg) to oversee the question of Iran's weapons of mass destruction. Should Iran exit the agreement and resume high level uranium enrichment or consider the development of weapons capability, its problems would only worsen. In general, under the current conditions, Iran does not have many good options.

Iran has also stated that it is not only focusing on a financial mechanism with the European Union. Tehran believes that, in addition to Europe, it will be able to continue to trade with other countries, including Russia, China and India. Will Iran's economic and financial cooperation with non-European countries meet the goals of Tehran in a nuclear deal (JCPOA)?

All three countries will trade with Iran only as long as their own interests are not threatened. China, in particular, is already experiencing an economic slowdown partly due to its trade dispute with America. It is unlikely that it would jeopardize its relations further with US Russia's own economic conditions are quite precarious. India will trade only as long as America waives some conditions of Iran sanctions for Delhi. The fact is that no country will run any risk to rescue Iran from its current problems. On the contrary, its neighbors and rivals will try to replace it with its trading partners. Moreover, the three countries that Iran hopes to help it have diverging regional interests. For example, India and China are economic and political rivals in South and Central Asia. It is difficult to see how Iran would be able to keep both of them happy.

Interview by Javad Heirannia

MNA/TT

News Code 141469

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