Anti-Iran Good for EU

From the March-April 2002 Trumpet Print Edition

Ever ready to take advantage of an American foreign-policy or trade gap, Eurocrats are rubbing their hands in glee at President Bush branding Iran as part of an “axis of evil.”

Having so labeled Iran, the U.S. threatens heavier sanctions against trade with that country. But sanctions by America are only really workable if its coalition partners in the war against terrorism join with it in such action.

Eurocrats, already seeking U.S. foreign-policy loopholes with which to create a higher diplomatic presence for the EU, now have the prospect of a double win in Iran. They can not only have Iran align with them against an area of U.S. policy in the crucial Middle East, they can also get the jump on U.S. trade with this key oil state.

“‘It’s like Christmas for European … companies,’ said a consultant who believed that the return of U.S. companies [to dealing with Iran] would be delayed for at least a few more years” (Financial Times, Feb. 6).

Iran has delayed the signing of certain oil deals with the EU for over a year. If this chief patron of world terror decides to sign in the near future, it will deal a strong blow to U.S. sanctions against Iran and split the much-touted unity between two of the senior partners of the alliance against terror—the U.S. and EU.

What’s more, if Germany ultimately ends up leading the peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, this would force the EU to go public on its true intentions in both the Middle East and Central Asia. The resultant association with Iran will put the challenge to the EU’s public stance against terrorism. There is a lot more to the EU’s Middle Eastern and Central Asian diplomacy than has yet risen to the surface.

Led by Germany, the EU now has its fingers deep into each of the three main pies in this volatile region—Iran, Palestine and Pakistan. Watch for major power shifts in this region throughout the next few months.