WASHINGTON – During the Iran nuclear negotiations, we would often get TV footage and photos of the negotiators in Switzerland or Austria. Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, always looked serious, in fact stern. Her expression seemed to indicate that she was engaged in really serious business, with uncertain outcomes.
But now, fast forward to the brand new atmosphere created by the UN Security Council vote that enthusiastically endorsed the deal signed by Iran and the Western Powers, with the US in the lead.
Only days after this “green light”, Mogherini traveled to Tehran. And the message conveyed by her truly happy demeanor is clear. “All is well, my dear Iranian friends. With this annoying nuclear issue out of the way, now it’s party time. Let’s go back to business. Let’s have some fun”. And her body language tells the story. Gone is the stern look. In Tehran, Mogherini looked like a young woman getting married. Big smiles, and a positively relaxed look while she was posing for pictures with the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. He was also smiling a lot.
The French are back
And there is more. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius seemed to be a tough guy during the negotiations. But now, with the nuclear agreement signed, he also rushed to Tehran for high level talks with Foreign Minister Zarif and President Rouhani.
And he was also smiling a lot. After all, France used to have a lot of business with Iran prior to the sanctions. And clearly the French want to regain their privileged positions. Car maker Renault wants to get back into the country. Oil company Total is already busy looking for new investments and joint venture opportunities.
No more sanctions
Well, what is the point of all this? The point is that the Iran sanctions are gone –for good. Which is to say that the idea of going back to sanctions, (remember what Obama said about “snap back”), should Iran misbehave, is a fantasy, stuff for the birds.
The mad rush to Tehran, coupled with Mogherini’s smiles, tell you the real story. The EU will never –and I mean never– go back to sanctions against Iran. Even if the IAEA inspectors gained evidence of Iranian cheating, (and this is unlikely, given the soft inspection regime), all violations will be explained away. There will be a million reasons for having more talks and negotiations instead of sanctions.
Now we are back to business. And this is all that matters.
So much for strict verification and tough enforcement of this make-believe “agreement”.