Why is the EU eager to stick to the Iran nuclear deal even after the USA backs out from the deal and even threatens to put sanctions on EU companies?

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    If you think the answers on another question are insufficient, you should answer that question yourself. Creating your own question isn't necessary.
    – Publius
    May 20, 2018 at 23:48
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    @Avi - that question is basically "Why is US different from EU", asking mostly about why US pulled out (as reflected in the answers). This question is "Why does EU hold this position, *especially since US is now out of the deal". They are NOT duplicate; as answers to one do not answer another - nor they can or should.
    – user4012
    May 21, 2018 at 2:14
  • I don't like your use of the word desperate. Different nations have different interests. This would be a better question without implying desperation.
    – userLTK
    May 21, 2018 at 2:24
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    @user4012 From the other question, "So, my question can be reduced to: since the nuclear deal seems to have so many weaknesses, why are EU leaders "determined to preserve" the deal?" Any answer here would be responsive to that.
    – Brythan
    May 21, 2018 at 2:47
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    @Brythan - if that's the case, every answer on that question should be deleted (and optionally reposted on a new "why did US want to pull out of the deal" question).
    – user4012
    May 21, 2018 at 4:16

2 Answers 2


The EU was heavily involved in negotiating the deal, see here. Europe also has better relations with Iran than the US has with Iran, this means that the EU isn't likely to yield to the US on this issue unless there is convincing evidence that Iran is violating the terms of the deal.

While the current US administration is not happy with certain details in the deal, for the EU and the other signatories one important pillar of the deal was to get to an evidence based process where all issues would be dealt with in a pragmatic way. Iran agreed to limit its enrichment program, not simply because of a bargain involving the lifting of sanctions, but also because the deal recognizes that Iran does have the right to enrich uranium in the future should the need for that arise. Iran therefore has no need to secure that right over the objections of other countries, and can then agree not to enrich uranium as currently all their enriched uranium needs are going to be provided for by Russia.

What the US now wants to do is to return to the policy of the Bush Administration, i.e. no enrichment ever in Iran. The argument that the deal has sunset provisions that would allow Iran to produce nuclear weapons is seen as a straw man attack in Europe, so this is not taken to be a serious flaw of the deal. Rather the fact that Iran is going to be gradually rehabilitated as an NPT member, is seen as an essential part of the deal.

Abandoning the deal would also mean that demanding that Iran sticks to the JCPOA limits on its nuclear program would have no legal basis. Iran could then enrich uranium within the usual IAEA framework that countries like South Africa or Brazil also stick to. If the US and Israel were to consider taking strong measures against Iran then the EU would find itself in a difficult position. If the EU were to try to take a middle ground in this sort of a situation where the US is bullying Iran into complying with its demand, how can the EU then ask Putin to stop meddling in Ukraine with a straight face?


I think, EU is seeing Iran to be a place to do business. Oil1, aircraft2, railway, and automobile1 among some of the potential areas.

- Trump blows billionaires agreements signed by Italian companies in 2016

- What France’s Car Makers Have to Lose in Iran

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    This answer isn't good enough, because it implies the EU was the only one which was going to make money with Iran. American aircraft manufacturer Boeing will lose a $17bln deal, European aircraft manufacturer Airbus will lose a $19bln deal. Both USA and EU will lose money, so it doesn't make sense to cite this as a reason for the EU pursuing the deal and the USA not.
    – user8398
    May 21, 2018 at 18:06
  • @inappropriateCode, Iran Nuclear Deal Cancellation Fails To Dent Boeing and Airbus ,,,,,,, avweb.com/avwebflash/news/…
    – user17569
    May 21, 2018 at 18:21
  • Apart from the economic losses caused by re-introducing sanctions, think of the political implications. If the deal is gone, Iran has no incentive not to develop nuclear weapons. Also, if Europe simply folds, then it will not be seen as a independent entity in world politics.
    – Dohn Joe
    May 22, 2018 at 12:51

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