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The EU was a key element in the negotiation of the Obama-era "Iran nuclear deal."

How did this work with respect member state governments?

Did member states choose to delegate responsibility for this negotiation to the EU for this? Or was this an EU/US initiative that then required unanimous agreement in the European Council? Or something else?

  • I am not completely sure the EU was a key element. EU officials like to hype their role but it's an area where large member states (and especially the two member states with a permanent seat on the UNSC) have a lot of weight. Formally the Council had to take a decision to lift the sanctions (because it imposed them in the first place) but it's difficult to see it going against France, Germany, and the UK. – Relaxed Jan 22 at 22:30
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This works differently than trade agreements because it does not bind member states in the same way. The EU's role in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action stems from its sanctions regime. Sanctions like these are indeed adopted by the Council, following a specific review procedure and the Council also translated the results of the JPCOA into EU law. The main difference between this and a trade agreement is that member states are still allowed (and routinely do) impose sanctions based on their national interest even in the absence of EU sanctions.

  • Thank you. So EU sanctions are passed by unanimity, and the origin of the proposal is the High Representative in the EU. There are two bodies called a “council”. In which body is the unanimity needed? How can member states then “undo”/reverse the sanctions? – Ben Jan 22 at 23:25
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    @Ben In EU circles, “the Council” nearly always means the Council of the European Union, in this case the Foreign Affairs Council. – Relaxed Jan 23 at 18:35

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