1 February 2019   2 comments

Talks between the US and Russia to preserve the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty have apparently failed. The treaty, which was signed in 1987, was a landmark treaty because it banned either side from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe. No other nuclear treaty has ever been able to ban an entire class of nuclear weapons. The US claimed that a Russian missile, the Novator 9M729 (called the SSC-8 by NATO), violated the treaty. The Russians have asserted that the missile’s range put it outside the constraints of the treaty. But it was also clear that the Trump Administration did not wish to support the treaty because it did not cover the intermediate-range missiles being developed by China. The possible end of this treaty is consistent with the renewed interest in nuclear weapons by all of the current nuclear powers, a deeply troubling development in world politics.

The European Union has announced a new financial mechanism to skirt the sanctions on Iran being pushed by the US after it ended its participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known more commonly as the Iran nuclear agreement. The US monitors international financial transactions through a mechanism known as SWIFT. The new European plan bypasses SWIFT. Al Jazeera describes the new system:

“The new institution, named INSTEX – Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges – will allow trade between the EU and Iran without relying on direct financial transactions. It is a project of the governments of France, Germany and Britain and will receive the formal endorsement of all 28 EU members.

INSTEX will initially be used to support transactions on humanitarian goods, an objective that falls far short of Iranian demands for fully free economic transactions in order for continued Iranian adherence to the JCPOA. If the European Union fails to satisfy Iranian interests–a key objective persuading the Iranians to sign the JCPOA–, then Iran may decide not to stay in the nuclear agreement.

Posted February 1, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

2 responses to “1 February 2019

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  1. Prof. Ferraro, could you please comment on this press release from NATO? I assumed that withdrawal from the INF treaty was a unilateral act by the US like withdrawal from the Iran treaty. Then I saw a tweet from French ambassador to the US Gerard Araud blaming Russia for necessitating US suspension of its participation in the treaty. The NATO press release says, “Allies fully support this action.” https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_162996.htm Yet I see many analysts saying the US withdrawal can only benefit Russia. Can you please clarify whether the US is acting in concert with European allies here or is acting essentially alone and forcing them to construe it in the best possible light?

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  2. Pingback: 5 February 2019 | World Politics News

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