Paper/ The Unfulfilled Promise of EU Foreign and Security Policy towards Iran by Riccardo Alcaro, Steven Blockmans, Akin Ünver and Sine Özkaraşahin


At the presumed end of the JCPOA era (2003-2022), Riccardo Alcaro (IAI – Istituto Affari Internazionali), with Steven Blockmans (CEPS (Centre for European Policy Studies) , Akin Ünver (Özyeğin Üniversitesi) and Sine Özkaraşahin (EDAM – Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies), assesses strengths, limits and future of EU policy towards Iran.

Their report contends that a combination of prioritisation, compartmentalisation and multilateralisation kept EU Iran policy on track for almost 20 years. Iran’s collusion in Russia’s war on Ukraine and crackdown on anti-regime protesters show the limits of the EU’s prioritisation and compartmentalisation strategies. EU member states’ priorities now extend beyond nuclear proliferation to human rights and European security. Shift in priorities cements a re-orientation of EU approach to Iran from conditional engagement to confrontation. EU member states’ options are limited, however.


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