Britain migrating to New World, what undertones are conveyed to Iran?
Tehran, Iran, June 26
By Mehdi Sepahvand – Trend:
There are numerous speculations as to what the landslide British exit from the European Union might do to the world. For Iran, the British move finds an extra tone than other countries due to the fact that Britain was a key player in Tehran’s recently won nuclear pact.
One reading of the “leave” vote the British cast on June 23 is that as their country exits the EU, London will be less obliged to care for the EU policies on one hand, and on the other, the EU members would be pulled less by Britain, especially from the intimacy of London and Washington.
This change will mean a great lot to Iran, holding in hand January’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) over its nuclear program.
The deal was made between Tehran and the group 5+1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, and China, plus Germany), with the aim to lift economic sanctions on Iran in return for closer nuclear inspection.
Although nobody can tell for sure how the six powers would approach Iran after the Brexit, some likely equations are worth pondering.
As the first possible equation, the EU members, including those in the sextet, will no more have to keep in tune with London as they did when it had not been decided that Britain would leave the union. Here what is needed to take into account is that Britain has so far been the United States’ closest ally. The fact found resonance in President Barack Obama’s statements following the British referendum results, when he indicated that the US and UK will go on to remain buddies no matter what.
Considering the fact that the US was the staunchest anti-Iran member of the sextet during the nuclear talks and beyond that, and that the country has still refrained from engaging in talks with Tehran for post-sanctions economic cooperation while many EU members have done so, Britain’s exit would mean that the EU now can act more freely in strengthening ties with Iran.
As the White House loses a footing in the EU, the union’s member states will have more room for taking care of their immediate needs. Europe is taken by a huge influx of refugees from terrorist grip over great parts of the Middle East. This necessitates some closer cooperation with powers influential over the ME’s political developments, including Russia and Iran.
Russia and Iran have adopted close standpoints regarding the crisis in Syria, the major source of the refugee flow. Their influence over the issue as big players will in the long run bring the EU to the conclusion that they can be of great help to end the catastrophe. This is worthy of more contemplation having in mind that Moscow and Tehran have long accused Washington of not really working to end the crisis.
European countries are also dependent on Russia for its huge delivery to the European energy market. This came handy for President Vladimir Putin when Russia was found at loggerheads with Europe over Crimea in 2013.
Tehran has also been increasing its energy export to Europe since sanctions were lifted. Iran’s crude export to Europe stood at 100,000 bpd under sanctions, but now it stands at 600,000 bpd. The country is also considering exporting gas to Europe either via pipe or in the form of LNG shipped. That will also create some “political adhesion” between Iran and EU members as Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs Amir Hossein Zamaninia once said.
But the second probability is that, as Britain moves away from the EU, it will grow even more intimate with the United States. Over 60 percent of British projects are EU-funded right now. So, when Brexit is materialized, the closest country to compensate for some loss of investment in the UK would naturally be the US. That will create a lot of new adhesion between London and Washington.
The other thing that may happen is that the UK and US leaders are probably going to become even more intimate. As David Cameron said he will resign from his post as UK’s prime minister, Boris Johnson seems a very likely replacement. Besides looks, the former London mayor holds much in common with presumptive Republican candidate for the upcoming US presidential elections Donald Trump. The guys both hold very strong contempt for Islam, the Middle East, and Iran; and they are much supportive of the number-one enemy of Iranian leaders Israel.
The unification of the US and UK, especially if such figures ascent to leadership, will come hard on Iran.
Put in a nutshell, how Iran would be affected by Brexit can be seen from different angles, giving quite multifarious outcomes. It is true that as for the Iranian nuclear deal, no party to the JCPOA can violate the terms of the agreement no matter how they shift their relations with other members or other political bodies. However, just six months since the deal was implemented, it has already been proven that the deal cannot bring Iran everything and that there is more to establishing ties with the world. The US is definitely a party to the JCPOA, but its ban on the use of the US dollar for commercial ties with Iran has exhausted all international efforts to reconnect Iran to the world economically. The UK’s exit from the EU could in the same manner have some soft undertones for Iran that could act as hard as anything could. Only the test of time can tell how Brexit will unravel for Iran.
Mehdi Sepahvand is Trend Agency’s Tehran-based correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @mehdisepahvand