Britain, France and Germany are three of America’s closest allies, but they don’t always act like it. Last week in Vienna, their foreign ministers met with the foreign ministers of China and Russia, strategic adversaries of the U.S., as well as the foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a regime whose rallying cry for almost 40 years has been “Death to America!”
Their mission: To undermine U.S. policy; to relieve the economic pressure that the Trump administration is attempting to bring to bear on Iran’s rulers in order to change their aggressive and lethal behavior both at home and abroad.
French, British and German leaders don’t see the situation that way, of course. In 2015, they went along with President Obama’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). They were displeased when Donald Trump called that deal a disaster, and angered when, two months ago, he withdrew from it.
They continue to insist that the JCPOA is a reasonable bargain. In exchange for economic benefits, Iran’s theocrats have promised to slow — not end — their illicit nuclear weapons development program.
Often overlooked: Iran’s theocrats don’t actually acknowledge having a nuclear weapons program. Nevertheless, they are threatening to accelerate it if the Europeans don’t fully compensate them for economic losses caused by the re-imposition of American sanctions.
Just prior to last week’s meeting, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani phoned French President Emmanuel Macron and told him that the package currently on the table “does not meet all our demands.”