An emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers will take place in Brussels today to discuss Iran.
Following the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike and retaliatory missile strikes on US bases in Iraq, Tehran announced on Sunday that it would scrap limits on enriching uranium put into place by the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Parties to the agreement must now decide on whether or not to refer the issue to a Joint Commission, which has 15 days to resolve the dispute by consensus, though the window can be extended indefinitely upon agreement.
A referral of the breach in Iran’s commitments to the deal will most likely lead to the imposition of sanctions. Combined with existing US penalties, new sanctions would only further delegitimise the already tenuous state of the accord and would likely lead to a resumption of military responses.
Expect the EU to attempt to extend the dispute resolution mechanism as long as possible. This will give negotiators time to deescalate military tensions between the US and Iran and bring forward new diplomatic solutions—which could range from renegotiating the existing deal to scraping it altogether and forging a new one. If US forces do not retaliate against Iranian forces or Iranian proxies in Iraq after the latest attack, a return to diplomatic negotiations is likely.
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Nick is the Director of the Daily Brief and a contributing Senior Analyst to it. An attorney, his areas of expertise include international law, international and domestic criminal law, security affairs in Europe and the Middle East, and human rights.