This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Can the Iran Nuclear Deal Be Rescued?

Carnegie Europe Blog

A selection of experts answer a new question from Judy Dempsey on the foreign and security policy challenges shaping Europe’s role in the world. The question this week: Can the Iran Nuclear Deal Be Rescued? Please find Marietje Schaake's answer below. 

No. The JCPOA as agreed by the major
global powers at a critical time was fatally damaged by President
Trump’s withdrawal. That does not mean all is lost; a reduced JCPOA may
still work, but European leaders need to get real.

Yes, High Representatives Ashton and Mogherini stuck their necks out for diplomacy. This was the right choice, but it also had a shadow side, overlooking human rights violations and Iran’s troubling role in the Middle East. Rebalancing the EU’s approach toward Iran is now, again, hindered by a defensive stance on the nuclear deal.

Attempts to maintain policy independence and to give European companies maximum choice to do business are positive steps. The EU lifted sanctions as its part of the deal, while Iran commits to verification of its nuclear enrichment. But to push or even punish European companies for choosing to drop business with Iran under threat of U.S. repercussions is taking it too far. Additionally, the impression that the EU and Tehran are in one “camp” and the United States in another is deplorable.

The way forward for Europe is to broaden its Iran policy to include human rights and foreign policy concerns, while taking reasonable steps to stay committed to its part of the nuclear deal.