The Premise: The Underneath Continuity in the E3/EU’s Iran Policy
The intra-EU policy convergence on Iran effected by the E3/EU group (France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the High Representative) was a consequence of the pre-eminence of the nuclear issue. Nuclear proliferation had been a prominent item in EU-Iran exchanges already in the 1990s. Hence, it came as no surprise that the issue climbed the list of priorities in the EU’s agenda when Iran’s nuclear programme turned out to be far more advanced than previously anticipated. Thus, when the E3 engaged the Iranians, they were pursuing an established EU non-proliferation objective. The E3 adopted an approach based on engagement, dialogue, the promise of improved EU-Iran relations and the promotion of rules-based regimes, all elements already contained in the pre-existing EU Iran policy. Even though the E3/EU narrowed down the remit of EU-Iran relations to the nuclear issue, they presided over an adaptation of and not a break with the pre-existing EU policy.
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