S., which included the Iranian banking and economic system

In document Ritualized Rhetoric and Historical Memory in German Foreign and Security Policy (Page 161-165)

Sanctions, recent developments, and the EU/German Voice

U. S., which included the Iranian banking and economic system

These sanctions w ere partially enacted in 2008 w ith UNSC Resolution 1803,

which called fo r a financial freeze to individual assets of people believed to be involved

in th e nuclear program, as well as travel bans and increased inspections o f cargo bound

to and from Iran. By 2008, even Solana used language and rhetoric th a t pointed to

cultural differences betw een Iran and th e W est, focusing on th e destabilizing e ffect a

nuclear Iran would pose to the M id d le East. Solana's articulation em phasized th a t th e

punishm ent in th e form o f sanctions was not th e prim ary objective, but ra th e r an

increased e ffo rt and avenue fo r potential negotiations w ith Iran. Although th e EU

41 Ruth Santini, "European Union Discourses and Practices on Iranian Nuclear Program m e," ibid.13, no. 3 (2010): 481.

42 Although he later corrected this statem en t slightly, French Foreign M inister Bernard Kouchner declared th a t "France needed to prepare for th e prospect of w a r w ith Iran" (Santini, 2010, p. 4 8 2 and Baldwin, 2007).

backed the UN resolutions, policy makers advised th e U.S. to reduce rhetoric th a t

included m ilitary action and th e use o f force, w hile advocating diplom acy as th e only

possible approach. By M arch 2008, A hm adinejad declared th a t Iran w ould no longer

deal w ith th e EU and instead com m unicate only w ith th e IAEA.43

In June 2009 th e EU3+3 o ffered an updated version o f the initial V ienna proposal

to Iran, which has not been acted upon. A fter m eetings w ith Tehran in G eneva, and

several statem ents made by EU policy makers as w ell as President O bam a, th e

possibility o f Israel striking Iranian nuclear facilities was m ade known internationally,

th erefo re reopening the securitization d eb ate including th e use o f force. The role o f th e

EU since 2009 has th e re fo re been tw o -fo ld and ra th e r complex; on th e one hand, th e

EU's (and Germany's) com m itm en t to its allies such as Israel is continuously re iterated

publicly, while also balancing and 'patrolling' th e M id d le East in order to avoid possible

m ilitary conflicts 44 Throughout th e process in th e past decade, an articulation o f Iran's

complex and interrelated dom estic and foreign policy approach has been absent in

international discussion about Iran's nuclear program , painting th e picture o f an

irrational actor and securitizing th e issue in order to legitim ize future action. Some

scholars make this argum ent by chronologically analyzing th e language and rhetoric

em ployed by European policy makers on th e basis of a discursive exam ination o f th e

concept of security and perceived th re a t.

43 To international surprise, the U.S. sent U nder Secretary o f State W illiam Burns to talk w ith th e EU and Iran in July 2008, a policy shift which was accredited to EU pressure. Sauer, "Struggling on th e W orld Scene: An over-Ambitious Eu Versus a Com m itted Iran," 282.

44 Ruth Santini, "European Union Discourses and Practices on Iranian Nuclear Program m e," ib id.13, no. 3 (2010): 484.

dealing w ith Iran's nuclear w eapons program did not help th e overall relationship

betw een th e EU and Iran, since France and th e U nited Kingdom are both nuclear

weapons states. As several scholars point out, Iran has never disputed th a t it is not

allowed to have nuclear weapons; how ever, Iran has been very clear th ro u g h o u t the

negotiations th a t th e enrichm ent o f uranium is allow ed according to Article 4 o f the

NPT.45 Drawing similarities b etw een North Korea's nuclear program to th e process o f

Iran's nuclear program, analysts argue th a t although Iran can simply w ith d ra w from th e

NPT and announce possession o f nuclear weapons, th e intention o f th e acquisition of

nuclear weapons w orry th e W est, w hile th e size o f th e civilian nuclear program th a t Iran

should be allowed to have was also under d eb ate. In analyzing the EU's coercive

diplomacy approach tow ard Iran, some scholars conclude th a t articulated th reats do not

always reach goals; however, th e EU's, and specifically G erm any's negotiations can be

seen as elevating th e EU's role as a global actor. The EU, and G erm any, as a global actor,

balances the differing advocated approaches by th e U.S., Russia, and China, w h ile acting

in line w ith European identity, norms, and prom oting collective, m u ltilateral actions.

O th er scholars exam ine th e effectiveness o f dealing w ith Iran by assessing a

realization in objectives, nam ely th e prevention o f th e acquisition o f nuclear w eapons.

Analyzing th e EU's strategy in term s of cost and benefits analysis, an im p o rta n t aspect of

nonproliferation logic has been neglected by EU policy makers: th e prestige associated

45 Sebastian Harnisch, "M inilateral Cooperation and Transatlantic Coalition-Building: The E 3/E u-3 Iran Initiative," ibid.16, no. 1 (2007): 624. Sauer, "Coercive Diplomacy by th e Eu: The Iranian Nuclear W eapons Crisis."Sauer (2007)

with the acquisition of nuclear weapons and th e symbolism and popularity a t hom e fo r

countries acquiring nuclear w eapons. This symbolism and understanding o f th e

underlying motives by Iran is en tirely absent in EU policy makers' conception o f th e

problem .46 This is partially explained by th e EU's a tte m p t to become a global actor,

visible and pow erful in world politics beyond traditional diplom atic initiatives and in

opposition to th e U.S.'s unilateral and militaristic approach. The internal divisions w ithin

th e EU over policies and sanctions tow ard Iran also contributed to th e stalled or

'ineffective' outcom e o f th e halted negotiations. According to a convincing arg u m en t by

Tom Sauer, during th e entire negotiation process, th e EU "changed fro m being a

m ediator to being a coercer" w ith o u t offering new proposals for Iran, w h ile 'softer'

approaches advocated by G erm any and o th e r EU m em b er states w e re shut dow n

im m ediately by th e U.S.47

A review of th e scholarly debates surrounding th e effectiveness of th e EU's

approach in dealing w ith Iran's nuclear program , taking into consideration long standing

relations and historic events, scholars and analysts disagree about th e results and

interpretations o f th e negotiating process. Some point to th e problem o f d o u b le ­

standards w hile others explain th e im portance o f considering Iranian dom estic politics,

w hile yet an other group highlights th e lack o f th e EU (and others) to consider th e

national security threats articulated by Iran. Analysts critically exam ine th e a fte rm a th of

th e EU's negotiation process w ith Iran, arguing th a t th e EU has tried to push Iran to

46 "Struggling on th e W orld Scene: An over-Am bitious Eu Versus a Com m itted Iran," 284. 47 "Struggling on th e W orld Scene: An over-Am bitious Eu Versus a Com m itted Iran," 288.

com m it to rules beyond those outlined by th e NPT w ith an approach o f 'misguided

dem and', essentially denying Iran th e d evelo p m en t o f a national nuclear fuel cycle.48

Part o f these criticisms fall under th e double-standard argum ent, but th e underlying

conclusion is th a t unlike th e U.S.'s approach o f co u n ter-p ro liferatio n argum ents, which

advocate a reshaping or replacing o f th e existing regim e, th e EU lacks a clear and

consistent strategy. Scholars suggest a full retu rn to diplom atic institutions com bined

w ith an articulation and adoption o f w h a t John Herz called "Realist Liberalism" 49

Similarly, Suzanne M aloney questions th e sanctions, and carrot-and-stick policies, which

have been m ore focused on the latter, and strongly urges th e Obama A dm inistration to

focus on th e diplom atic process.50

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