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How effectively Western countries can return to Iran deal after Trump administration

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Despite a strong opposition from Trump’s election campaign towards the US election 2020 results, media have announced Joe Biden as the next US president. This raised a wave of “hope” among leaders around a world who believe the unilateral decisions by US administration under Trump is over and US would try to reconstruct the US foreign Policy with cuddling old allies in Europe, as Joe Biden already stated his commitments to return the US to Paris climate agreement and Iran nuclear deal, writes Ali Bagheri.

Possible improvement in EU and US relationship should not be exaggerated

Clearly, Joe Biden presents a totally different personality than Donald Trump. However, Europe cannot risk its relationship with US only based on the personality of the new president not foreseeing the bone structure of US foreign Policy. François Hollande, former French president, believes: “Joe Biden's victory would bring a form of appeasement and open the transatlantic dialogue on subjects as major as the climate, Iran and the relationship with China. His eventual victory will not reverse the trends seen under the Obama presidency, or even some of Trump's inflections. He will have to take into account the protectionist sensitivity that now exists in his country. Finally, the United States, which no longer wants to be the policeman of the world, will not intend to ensure the security of Europe in an intangible way.” (Le Soir – 18 October).

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Geopolitician Caroline Galactéros believes what Europe suffers more is the lack of a strategic vision in its foreign policy. “We believe that things will go well without coercion and we no longer know how to lead” She stated in an interview with L’Echo (6 November). “With Trump, Europe therefore found itself both orphaned and naked in the face of the lusts of all the other actors… Joe Biden could put the forms back, especially with the Europeans. He has already started by referring to a return of the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement.” However, Caroline Galactéros does not feel the same way for Iran deal. “The Iranian nuclear deal should be recast, according to American and Israeli interests,” she added.

All in all, experts anticipate the US administration would try return to the previous path as Obama, however it is unlikely to expect that he can get a big achievement in his first round because there are a lot of actions to reverse while EU remains caution about the outcome of the next election within 4 years. Moreover, the presence of Biden in the white house and a better relationship with EU can make even a stronger alliance for US political agenda about Iran. Especially when EU has deep concerns for increasing number of terror attacks on its soil and the case of the Iranian diplomat terrorist in Belgium.

Iran and middle east are different playgrounds for EU and US

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Trump’s “Maximum Pressure” policy towards Iran squeezed this country’s economics and isolated Iran from most of its benefits of JCPOA. Biden wants to return to Iran Nuclear Deal, but he needs to convince major counterparts in the region such as Saudi-Arabia and Israel. Moreover, he will not risk returning to the JCPOA as it was signed back in 2015. Especially when Iran has broken most of its commitments and keep following its ballistic missile program. Besides, Democrats are not enthusiasm to bow to the Ayatollah when there exists a both partisan agreement on Trump’s policy towards Iran. Resolution 734 which received more than 221 supports (bipartisan support) in US congress clearly condemns Iranian state-sponsored terrorism and expressing support for the Iranian people's desire for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic of Iran. Therefore, on the viewpoint of US politicians nothing has changed towards Iran that Joe Biden can restrain. They also have EU as their alliance to follow their agenda towards Iran too.

The other factor is Iran itself. Donald Trump started a “maximum pressure” campaign not because he loved to do so but the protests in Iran became that much radical that left no ways for him except to follow these steps. Donald Trump asked Iranian authorities for a new round of negotiations several times, and he believes he would make a deal in his second round. But let’s analysis his actions towards Iran when the Iranian people and their resistance are involved in the problem.

Trump withdrew from JCPOA after a major uprising in December 2017 and January 2018 in Iran. “US could never leave JCPOA if 2018 Uprising has not occurred” stated Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, in his speech in the Parliament in November 2018. The other important action of Trump administration was the elimination of Qassem Soleimani, who has been in US and EU terrorist lists for years. Again, it was not Trump to make this decision, November 2019 uprising in Iran left more than 1500 unarmed protesters who have been killed by IRGC troops in Iran’s streets. This uprising shook the Iranian regime to its foundations that Trump felt no hesitation to remove Qassem Solimani just with a blink. Joe Biden also confirms Trumps action in his statement. “No Americans will mourn Qassem Soleimani, He deserved to be brought to justice for his crimes against American troops and thousands of innocents throughout the region” Biden wrote in his statement.

Iranian resistance is a key player that cannot be ignored

In conclusion, no matter if the U.S. president is a Democrat or Republican the foreign policy of the U.S. remains the same regarding the rest of the world. Maybe Joe Biden will not use the same tough words as Trump did, but he will also stick to a policy in favor of American interests putting America first. However, the situation for Iran is different, because the balance of power is not just about the Iranian regime and Western countries anymore. A key player has arisen in Iran’s political platform which is the Iranian resistance with the support of the Iranian people and resistance units inside the country. The National Council of Resistance of Iran who has announced his resistance unit’s strategy since 2012 for regime change in Iran has proven its capabilities to organize nationwide uprising and continues to do so regardless of foreign powers desires.

Ali Bagheri is an energy engineer, PhD from University of Mons. He is an Iranian activist and an advocate for human rights and democracy in Iran. Email: [email protected] Phone: +32 474 08 6554 Twitter: https://twitter.com/DR_Ali_Bagheri LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alibagheri89 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Aramana979?ref=bookmarks

All opinions expressed in the above article are those of the author alone, and do not reflect any opinions on the part of EU Reporter.

European Commission

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €231 million in pre-financing to Slovenia

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The European Commission has disbursed €231 million to Slovenia in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country's grant allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The pre-financing payment will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Slovenia's recovery and resilience plan. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Slovenia's recovery and resilience plan.

The country is set to receive €2.5 billion in total, consisting of €1.8bn in grants and €705m in loans, over the lifetime of its plan. Today's disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80 billion in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to member states under NextGenerationEU.

The RRF is at the heart of NextGenerationEU which will provide €800bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across member states. The Slovenian plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies. A press release is available online.

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Cyprus

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €157 million in pre-financing to Cyprus

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The European Commission has disbursed €157 million to Cyprus in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country's financial allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The pre-financing payment will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan.

The country is set to receive €1.2 billion in total over the lifetime of its plan, with €1 billion provided in grants and €200m in loans. Today's disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80bn in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to member states under NextGenerationEU. Part of NextGenerationEU, the RRF will provide €723.8bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across member states.

The Cypriot plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies. A press release is available online.

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Belgium

EU Cohesion policy: Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy receive €373 million to support health and social services, SMEs and social inclusion

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The Commission has granted €373 million to five European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) operational programmes (OPs) in Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy to help the countries with coronavirus emergency response and repair in the framework of REACT-EU. In Belgium, the modification of the Wallonia OP will make available an additional €64.8m for the acquisition of medical equipment for health services and innovation.

The funds will support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in developing e-commerce, cybersecurity, websites and online stores, as well as the regional green economy through energy efficiency, protection of the environment, development of smart cities and low-carbon public infrastructures. In Germany, in the Federal State of Hessen, €55.4m will support health-related research infrastructure, diagnostic capacity and innovation in universities and other research institutions as well as research, development and innovation investments in the fields of climate and sustainable development. This amendment will also provide support to SMEs and funds for start-ups through an investment fund.

In Sachsen-Anhalt, €75.7m will facilitate cooperation of SMEs and institutions in research, development and innovation, and provide investments and working capital for micro-enterprises affected by the coronavirus crisis. Moreover, the funds will allow investments in the energy efficiency of enterprises, support digital innovation in SMEs and acquiring digital equipment for schools and cultural institutions. In Italy, the national OP ‘Social Inclusion' will receive €90m to promote the social integration of people experiencing severe material deprivation, homelessness or extreme marginalisation, through ‘Housing First' services that combine the provision of immediate housing with enabling social and employment services.

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In Spain, €87m will be added to the ESF OP for Castilla y León to support the self-employed and workers who had their contracts suspended or reduced due to the crisis. The money will also help hard-hit companies avoid layoffs, especially in the tourism sector. Finally, the funds are needed to allow essential social services to continue in a safe way and to ensure educational continuity throughout the pandemic by hiring additional staff.

REACT-EU is part of NextGenerationEU and provides €50.6bn additional funding (in current prices) to Cohesion policy programmes over the course of 2021 and 2022. Measures focus on supporting labour market resilience, jobs, SMEs and low-income families, as well as setting future-proof foundations for the green and digital transitions and a sustainable socio-economic recovery.

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