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Europe Ambivalent About Military Action Against Iran

Depending on who you talk to, military action against Iran is the best strategy to make them abide by their agreements or it is the worst way to do so. Diplomatic efforts with Iran have resulted in a mixed response from Iran. The regime has used the funds made available by the agreement to back its exportation of terror throughout the Middle East, with a focus on Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

The international community is mixed about the best way to deal with Iran. This is because unlike the United States, which has backed extensive sanctions in the past, these countries have closer economic ties to Iran and feel a greater impact from the sanctions themselves. “These countries have abided by international sanctions against Iran, to varying degrees, because the Obama administration convinced their leaders that sanctions were a necessary prelude to a diplomatic deal,” said Peter Beinart, a journalist with The Atlantic in 2015.

Since the deal was reached, many have reopened their economic ties to Iran and for those who are benefiting economically, it would be hard to convince them to shut that tap off again. While the goal of the international community is to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the reality is that there does not appear to be a clear path to achieving that reality.

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With their ballistic missile test in early February, Iran has indicated to the world at large that it will not be abiding by the letter of the agreement. The regime is pushing to see how far the international community is willing to let them go. Without a comprehensive agreement among the members of the international community, including the U.S. and Europe, about how to move forward, Iran will have a much freer rein.

However, the Trump administration has indicated that it has not taken military force off the table, a position that may put the U.S. at odds with its allies, as many have divided populations regarding the benefits of military action in Iran. While it seems that everyone is against a nuclear Iran, no one is sure of the best path to achieve that end.

Additionally, the spread of Iran’s influence in the Middle East has resulted in more instability, which has created a larger refugee population, many of which are making their way to Europe. This influx is causing greater divides within these countries, as terrorist acts multiple and refugees become an easy target to blame for that increase.

Trump’s current immigration executive order bans immigrants from seven countries, includes Iran. During 2005 to 2015, Iran had the largest total number of legal entrants into the U.S., according to the Pew Research Center, with many of them arriving in the U.S. on temporary visas. While the U.S. debates the legality of Trump’s executive order in the courts, the international community has a mixed response to the order.

In the end, it seems that Europe and the rest of the international community are unwilling to commit to military action without concrete evidence of its effectiveness in limiting Iran’s nuclear capability.

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