As U.S. and Iran Face Off, Europe Is Stuck in the Middle – The New York Times

“I think Iran has made a response, and not a particularly radical or extreme response, to what it sees as U.S. escalation in the Gulf,” said Nathalie Tocci, an adviser to the European foreign-policy chief, Federica Mogherini. “The European role should be to attempt to reverse this vicious cycle and ensure that Iran sees an interest in living up to its side of the bargain even with the U.S. violating it.”

Now, with Iran’s new deadline threats, European officials say they are working to get at least one Instex deal done quickly, as an effort to get Iran to stay within agreed limits.

On Monday, after a meeting of European foreign and defense ministers, Ms. Mogherini made it clear that Europe was not eager to find Iran in breach of its obligations. Iran’s announcements were merely “policy dialectics,” she said, and Europe would wait for the International Atomic Energy Agency to declare if and when Iran is violating the deal. The last agency report, from the end of May, found Iran in compliance.

For Mr. Shapiro, Ms. Mogherini’s reaction was quintessentially European, legalistic and reluctant to judge.

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