The intention of the United States to ending the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal marks an unprecedented rift between Washington and its main European allies, which will last if Donald Trump is re-elected.
(You may be interested in: The power that Europe must assume in the geopolitical game)
What are the causes of the breakup?
The announcement of the United States to reinstate the UN sanctions against Iran he was judged without legal value by European countries, with the support of Beijing, Moscow and Tehran.
Although this is of great depth, already other transatlantic divergences occurred previously, for example during the invasion of Iraq (2003). But in that case, the United States was mainly against France, not the United Kingdom.
It is the first time that the British have opposed the United States so frontally
“It is the first time that the British have opposed the United States so frontally on an issue considered essential to American diplomacy,” says Pascal Boniface, director of the Institute for International and Strategic Relations (IRIS).
(Read here: France opposes the agreement between the European Union and Mercosur)
The United Kingdom remains on its principles “despite increasingly insistent requests from the United States”, and taking into account the increasingly important distance with Europe due to Brexit, he adds.
The position of the United States plunges the UN into an unprecedented legal vacuum, just when Its annual General Assembly begins this Tuesday, which wants to emphasize multilateralism.
How does it affect other countries?
On the Iranian issue, Washington has been facing for more than two years a united front formed by London, Paris and Berlin, who fear for their safety with nuclear proliferation.
(Read also: The tragedy of thousands of refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos)
This disagreement over Iran, initiated by Trump, is the critical point of a long decline in relations. between the United States and its older European allies. For three years, differences have arisen over other important issues, such as the climate issue, Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or NATO.
And also in negotiations at the UN on less prominent issues. In some cases, Washington even threatened his right to veto or with proposing counter-bills to impose their vision, a practice that until now only the adversaries of the United States used.
For example, in December 2018, Washington was outraged against the United Kingdom because it presented a text on Yemen without focusing on Iran and criticizing Saudi Arabia. In April 2019, the United States modified a German document on sexual violence that alluded too much to international justice.
(Also: Russian opponent Navalni claims Novichok was found in his body)
But, in this context, “the absence of strategic unity among Westerners in the Security Council opens a diplomatic path to Russia and China to advance their interests in New York“said expert Richard Gowan of the Crisis Group last year.
Can elections change course?
For Bertrand Badie, professor at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, European countries mainly maintain a “front” position on the Iranian issue.
“The priority of all Europeans is, fundamentally, keep the alliance with the United States because they need it, since they are incapable of guaranteeing a European or foreign defense policy “, he estimates.
(You may be interested in: The restrictions imposed in Europe by the second wave of covid-19)
“Everyone says ‘we still have 43 days to endure'”, until the presidential elections in the United States on November 3, he adds. Many hope that a victory by Democrat Joe Biden will bring the United States back into the multinational arena and help regain alliances with Western countries.
If Biden is elected, one of his priorities will be to repair the distance ties
“If Biden is elected, one of his priorities will be to repair the distanced, or damaged, ties between the countries of the European Union and the United States,” predicts Pascal Boniface.
On both sides of the Atlantic, they will try to “stick the pieces together” by reintegrating the United States in certain international agreements, reiterates François Heisbourg, director of the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS).
“But if Donald Trump is re-elected, there is a danger that he will use it to break the Atlantic Alliance. The Iranian case is one of the pretexts that could be used to question the role of the United States in NATO, “he warns.
(Read here: The portrait of the delicate situation in Madrid)