European Union leaders have long called for the bloc to behave more independently and strengthen its international role. Their failure to build a way to bypass U.S. sanctions on Iran has brutally exposed how far they are from that goal.
In September, Federica Mogherini, the EU’s top foreign policy official, announced plans for a special-purpose vehicle to keep some trade with Iran flowing with Europe. The hope was to keep the 2015 Iran nuclear deal alive after it was abandoned by the Trump administration. U.S. sanctions, including a ban on most oil exports, kicked in on Nov. 5 – but the SPV is far from ready.
EU member states haven’t even been able to find a country willing to host it. Austria has already refused, and Luxembourg is now coming under pressure from Germany, France and the U.K – the three European signatories of the nuclear deal – to provide it with a home.
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