So it's come to this. The fate of the world hangs in the balance...and it's the EU that's going to be the deciding factor.
The EU? Really? Sigh.
You may have heard that the US scrapped the Iranian nuclear deal this week, setting off a series of events that could very likely end up in a regional conflagration. But if that's what you heard, then you heard wrong. In actuality, Trump signed an Executive Memorandum on Tuesday that reaffirmed his October 13, 2017 decision to deny re-certification of the JCPOA and lifted sanction waivers promised under that agreement.
Confused? Don't worry, so is mostly everyone else. But here's the bottom line: the "Iran nuclear deal" was not some treaty between the US and Iran. It was a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed by China, France, Russia the United Kingdom, the United States, the EU and Iran. In other words, only one player in this seven-member deal is walking away from the table.
This is not a trivial distinction. What it means is that it is still perfectly possible that the other signatories to the agreement could continue on with the agreement or hammer out some replacement for it. At the very least, Europe could stand up to Washington's sanctions regime...if they followed Mish Shedlock's advice and "Grow a Backbone on Something Important," that is. As Mish points out, billions of dollars of European business are on the line. That money will be lost if the Europeans just roll over and accept US demands to wind down all business in Iran in the next three to six months.
Deals that will be scuttled if Europe complies with the US sanctions include:
A $20 billion order of 100 Airbus jets from Iran Air.
A $1 billion natural gas extraction deal project led by France's Total SA.
An $800 million automotive joint venture between Iran and Renault.
Hundreds of millions of dollars of investments, development projects, licensing agreements and sales by Royal Dutch Shell and BP.