Tensions over Iran nuclear deal to top Council of Europe ministers meeting

Tensions over Iran nuclear deal to top Council of Europe ministers meeting

Foreign ministers of the Council of Europe’s (CE) 47 member states will gather in Helsinki today for a Committee of

Lavroc council of europe

Photo: Russian MFA

Foreign ministers of the Council of Europe’s (CE) 47 member states will gather in Helsinki today for a Committee of Ministers meeting.

Iran will top the agenda, following Tehran’s threat last week that it would resume higher uranium enrichment banned under a 2015 agreement if it is not adequately shielded from US sanctions within 60 days.

The CE is painfully limited in its options. Russia is not a buyer of Iranian oil, while other European countries, most notably the UK, France and Germany, have failed to find a workaround to the sanctions. Turkey relies on Iran for around 12% of its oil needs, but that figure has dropped from 47% only a year ago and is expected to fall further.

As such, it appears unlikely that Iran will be satisfied come the end of its 60-day deadline. Tehran’s uranium enrichment threat would still keep levels well below the 90% threshold required for nuclear weapons and similar small steps in reducing its commitment to the 2015 agreement should be expected in the short-term. In the medium-term, Iran will hope for a change in the US presidency next year. Should President Trump be re-elected and maintain sanctions, Tehran could fully withdraw from the agreement.

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