European attempts to assure Iran that its interests will be protected after the United States walked out of the nuclear agreement are assurances that would undoubtedly fail.
The Europeans are closely allied with the United States by virtue of strong economic ties that are accorded high priority, and are statistically twice more important for Europe than its economic relations with Iran. In addition, major European companies will not accept pressure from their governments to enter into commercial contracts with Iran if these contracts may provoke the Americans.
Furthermore, the United States enjoys full control over the international financial transactions and all countries, including European Union countries, cannot act against the restrictions imposed by Americans. This is all very well known. So the news coming from the countries of the European Union that that there is a way in which the Europeans can protect their companies operating in Iran if they do not bow to American restrictions, is a statement that seems unfounded.
Those who can analyze the current situation of Iran can conclude that it has no choice but obey. The United States is holding all the cards, and all future indications confirm that it is determined to discipline and tame Iran through suffocating economic sanctionsMohammed Al Shaikh
Trump’s powerful presidency
It is my belief that President Trump is one of the most powerful presidents to have ruled the United States after President Reagan. In fact, he is truly seeking to enhance American prestige, dominance and power, not with words but with actions. All indicators point to the direction that he will succeed. His administration is formed of a group of hawks who have never assembled under any previous administration before.
The weakness, submission and hesitation of his predecessor Obama are clearly distinguished Trump from him. Undoubtedly, he has nothing in common with Obama’s policies and approaches. Trump has achieved a great deal of success that makes the average American citizen believe that he is not just a US President, but a true leader in every sense of the word.
In contrast, Iran is a state that engages in all the political offences in the Middle East which is a vital region not only for the United States, but for the West in general. Although the Europeans disagree with the US over Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal, they agree with him about the latter’s disadvantages which the six superpowers overlooked and admit that it is incomplete as long as it does not address the nuclear agreement after 2025, the ballistic missiles issue, in addition to Iran's expansion in the Arab region.
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In my opinion, they will theoretically stay in the agreement, but they will find ways to pressure Iran to find solutions to these three issues. In the end, Iran will have no choice but to give in. Otherwise, the American embargo will suffocate it economically, in a way that eliminates something called the Islamic Republic in the end. I believe that the six months that the US government has given to companies working in Iran to find solutions to their situation is also a grace for Iran so it can rationally manage the impasse that Trump has put it into after he withdrew from the deal.
Noose around Iranian regime
Those who can analyze the current situation of Iran can conclude that it has no choice but obey. The United States is holding all the cards, and all future indications confirm that it is determined to discipline and tame Iran through suffocating economic sanctions.
These sanctions have begun to block their wings in the region — in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen — and if these wings do not get their funding, they will weaken, wither and die especially if economic sanctions exhaust Iran's reserves thus decreasing its capability to challenge, endure and resist. Consequently, it won’t be able to financially support its militias and their hostilities in the Arab region. I think this is what the Americans have planned and have been working hard to implement.
The question is: How long can the Iranians keep this up? I do not know exactly, but what I am sure of is that Iran has only two options left, either keep pushing and inevitably fall in the end, or obey and survive.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Mohammed Al Shaikh is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah newspaper. He tweets @alshaikhmhmd.