With the decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement - formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - US President Donald Trump's administration has demonstrated, yet again, that it is determined to destroy major global structures and agreements.
Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, met Federica Mogherini, the EU external affairs chief, on Tuesday morning and will meet the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom - the three European signatories to the deal - in the evening. The decision will be a massive blow to the 2015 deal, putting the entire world at risk.
As the biggest buyer of oil and gas from Iran, and Iran's largest source of imports, China clearly has much at stake. We didn't need to leave the JCPOA to do that. But, ironically, those documents could have been used, as Robert Einhorn of the Brookings Institution has suggested, to plug JCPOA's gaps. Still, the US sanctions could have deep consequences: If France's Total, which has a big USA operation, is forced to pull out of Iran's South Pars project, China's CNPC, which is now Total's partner, would likely take over.
But some of that support was tempered by Republicans and Democrats who agreed with Trump that the deal was a bad one, but were wary about leaving it with no backup plan.
Other participants of the JCPOA believe that the terms of the sunset clauses could have been extended in negotiations with Iran.
Macron and Trump also discussed trade issues as European governments scramble to save billions of dollars in trade with Iran that resumed after the 2015 accord.
What will happen now? Analysts have suggested Russian Federation could benefit economically from the United States pull-out, as it is less exposed to the consequences of renewed sanctions than Europe. "But as it is now, at least for the time being, we're the country that's isolated".
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Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, spoke to his European counterparts to set out how he expects European companies to withdraw from trade with Iran. Its trade with Iran has more than doubled since 2006, and it has invested heavily in new railways and ports in the country.
After so many years with sanctions in place - they were first imposed in 1979 in response to the 444-day Iran hostage crisis, it is fair to concede that most companies in most parts of the world have long-since given up trading with Iran. Nuclear inspections experts say it will be far harder to verifiably disarm than Iran ever was. Seeing how North Korea's acquisition of the nuclear bomb has increased its bargaining power may just act as a motivator.
The opinions articulated above also do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Leadership Network or any of its members. This is an idea fraught with danger.
German exports to Iran totaled almost 3 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in 2017, while French exports soared from 562 million euros ($670 million) in 2015 to 1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) in 2017 and oil giant Total has pledged to invest some $5 billion in the South Pars gas field. The new rulers may choose to double down on the nuclear weapons programme and expand regional influence. "It depends on the conduct of other governments".
Trump's Iran announcement came earlier than expected - four days ahead of a May 12 deadline - and he made a point of mentioning that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on his way to North Korea "at this very moment".
What will be the impact on India? But connectivity through Chabahar was not flourishing anyway.
In the other areas, US and European diplomats have some shared views on how to approach Iran, which could be carried over if there were a new agreement. Trump has decided what he has. It is important to understand that norms, rules, persuasion and good faith make up the moral foundation of the non-proliferation regime, and the inability of the great powers to abide by them will dissuade non-nuclear weapons states from signing on to or abiding by new or existing agreements, protocols or regimes. With America's diplomatic credibility now undermined by Trump's violation of the JCPOA, that job will be all the more hard.