The Action/2: The E3/EU and the United States

  • Riccardo Alcaro
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


Intra-EU unity and transatlantic convergence on Iran’s nuclear issue were intrinsically tied. On the one hand, EU unity resulted from transatlantic convergence. France, Germany and the United Kingdom (E3) used the ‘US factor’ throughout the nuclear dispute to defend themselves from intra-EU criticisms, build support for their policy line or persuade the other member states to take difficult decisions. On the other hand, EU unity facilitated transatlantic convergence. During the Bush presidency, the E3 managed to moderate US requests for tougher action by insisting that the European Union would only support coercive measures if they were incremental, reversible and had a legal basis in Security Council resolutions. When Obama took office and steered US policy closer to EU preferences, the E3/EU could argue that EU-sanctioned coercive measures were a way to strengthen Obama’s hand in forcing Iran back to the negotiating table and fend off criticisms from America’s Middle Eastern allies and their supporters in the US Congress.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riccardo Alcaro
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto Affari InternazionaliRomeItaly

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