Western Balkans citizens legally resident in EU equal to 14% of region’s population
International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has stripped Belarus of the right to hold the World Championship this year
Alexei Navalny arrested on arrival as he returns home
LONG READ: The oligarch problem
Russia's National Welfare Fund accounts for almost 12% of GDP
Police arresting activists ahead of Saturday’s demonstration in support of Navalny
Biden seeking a five-year extension to START II missile treaty
Russian consumer confidence index drops q/q, y/y in 4Q20
Western Balkans and Ukraine urged to scrutinise coal subsidies
Oligarchs trying to derail Ukraine’s privatisation programme, warns the head of Ukraine’s State Property Fund
Private finance mobilised by development banks up 9% to $175bn in 2019
VISEGRAD BLOG: Central Europe's populists need a new strategy for Biden
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Czech MPs pass protectionist food law in violation of EU rules
M&A in Central and Eastern Europe fell 16% in value in 2020, says CMS report
Hungarian vehicle makers hit by supply chain shortage
COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Poland
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
Albania needs reforms for e-commerce to thrive, says World Bank
BALKAN BLOG: US approach to switch from quick-fix dealmaking to experience and cooperation
Corona-induced slump in global clothing sector dragged down Albania’s 2020 exports
Bosnia's exports in 2020 amounted to BAM10.5bn, trade deficit to BAM6.3bn
Bulgaria's Biodit first company to IPO on new BEAM market
Bulgaria’s government considers gradual easing of COVID-related restrictions
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
Spring lockdown caused spike in online transactions in Croatia
ING: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Moldova
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Montenegrins say state administration is most corrupt institution
North Macedonia plans to cut personal income tax in IT sector to zero in 2023
Romania government to pursue “ambitious” timetable for justice reforms
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovenia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
D’S Damat franchise deals ‘show Turkey’s hard-pressed mall operators becoming their own tenants’
Turkey’s benchmark rate held as concerns over faltering recovery come to fore
Turkish lira breaches HSBC’s stop-loss, Turkey ETF signalling outflows
CAUCASUS BLOG : What can Biden offer the Caucasus and Stans, all but forgotten about by Trump?
Armenia ‘to extend life of its 1970s Metsamor nuclear power plant after 2026’
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Iran’s Khamenei menaces private citizen Trump with image of aircraft shadowing blond golfer
Iran’s technology minister indicted for failing to properly implement internet censorship
No US move to rejoin Iran nuclear deal imminent, say Biden national security nominees
TEHRAN BLOG: Will Biden bet on a quick return to the Iran nuclear deal?
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
Mongolia's PM quits amid protests over treatment of mother with coronavirus and newborn baby
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
Download the pdf version
Iran will withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if European nations attempt to refer the Islamic Republic to the UN Security Council over non-compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was reported as saying on January 20 by Iranian parliamentary news service ICANA.
“The steps of reducing commitments [to the nuclear deal] are finished but if the Europeans continue their improper behaviour or send Iran’s file to the Security Council, we will withdraw from the NPT,” Zarif said. Iran was an early signatory of the 1970 NPT, designed to eventually lead to nuclear disarmament. Non-nuclear weapons states that are signatories, including Iran, agree not to pursue weapons and to only develop peaceful atomic technology.
Urged on by Arab allies in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, as well as Israel, the US has since Donald Trump took office as US president in January 2017 been turning the screw tighter and tighter on Tehran as it seeks to diminish its role in the region. On January 3, Trump even went ahead with what some experts say was act of war—and an illegal act of war in terms of international law contend many experts—by assassinating second most powerful Iranian official, Quds Force Major-General Qasem Soleimani with a drone missile strike at Baghdad airport. Days after, Iran said it would no longer respect any uranium enrichment limits in the nuclear accord (formally the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA), effectively leaving the deal on life support.
The only reason it is still seen as having some life left in it stems from Iran’s agreement to continue allowing UN inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) to visit to inspect is nuclear development programme, which Tehran insists remains a purely civilian endeavour.
Asserted they would still back JCPOA
After Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the JCPOA in May 2018, the remaining signatories—Iran, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China—asserted that they would continue to back the nuclear deal. But in return for compliance with measures barring its way to a nuclear bomb construction route—and that compliance was confirmed by the UN inspectors even as Trump walked out of the deal—Iran expected that the lifting of UN sanctions would enable its economic growth to accelerate. That has plainly not happened given that the US has unilaterally introduced crushing sanctions unprecedented in their weight and reach. The World Bank said two weeks ago that Iran saw its GDP shrink 8.7% in 2019 and can expect zero growth, or perhaps worse, in 2020.
Was Europe supposed to prevent this wretched economic situation? Well, after Trump junked the US commitment to the JCPOA, London, Paris and Berlin said they would offer Tehran trade assistance in the face of the US sanctions. An angry Tehran says nothing of consequence has been forthcoming. And now the UK, under the new government of Boris Johnson—who knows he must stay on the right side of Trump if he wants a trade deal with the US to help counter the negative impacts of Brexit—has started talking about the merits of replacing the nuclear deal with a “Trump deal”.
“Threat… does exist”
At the end of last week, it became clear that Trump threatened to impose a 25% tariff on cars to push the three European signatories to the accord to formally initiate proceedings against Iran for violating it. “This expression or threat, as you will, does exist,” German defence minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said at a January 16 press conference in London.
However, European diplomats gave background briefings to the media claiming that even before Trump’s threat, the European signatories had decided they would move forward with the formal complaint. French officials, meanwhile, have let it be known that they are concerned that with the current non-compliance, Tehran could have the ability to make a nuclear weapon in around a year’s time. Iran insists it has never had any ambition to build a nuclear bomb.
Remarking on Trump’s threat, and his perception of Europe’s response to it, foreign minister Javad Zarif—who on January 20 confirmed he has cancelled plans to attend this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, while Trump is reportedly set to attend—tweeted: “Appeasement confirmed. E3 sold out remnants of #JCPOA to avoid new Trump tariffs. It won’t work my friends. You only whet his appetite. Remember your high school bully?”
The previous day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani poured scorn on the proposal from Johnson that a “Trump deal” should replace the nuclear deal. He said it was a “strange” offer, noting that Trump has gained a reputation for always breaking his promises. There are fears in Tehran that Johnson will be nothing more than a lapdog to Trump as he pushes for a trade deal with Washington.
Rouhani said last week that all of Iran’s JCPOA non-compliance steps could still be reversed as soon as Europe was able to commit to the nuclear agreement and take concrete steps allowing Iran to sell oil. The US since May last year has been attempting to drive all Iranian crude off world markets.
here to continue reading this article
and 5 more for free or purchase
12 months full website access including
the bne Magazine for just $250/year.
Register to read the bne monthly magazine for
Password could contain only
and have 8-20 symbols length.
Please complete your registration by confirming your
A confirmation email has been sent to the email
address you provided.
can't be empty.
No user with
this email address.
Access recovery request has expired, or you are using
the wrong recovery token. Please, try again.
Access recover request has expired.
Please, try again.
To continue viewing our content you need to complete
the registration process.
Please look for an email that was sent to
with the subject line
"Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have
instructions on how to complete registration
process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in
case this communication was misdirected in your
If you have any questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry, but you have used all your free articles fro
this month for bne IntelliNews. Subscribe
to continue reading for only $119 per year.
Your subscription includes:
For the meantime we are also offering a free
digital weekly newspaper to subscribers to
the online package.
Click here for more subscription options,
including to the print version of our
flagship monthly magazine:
Take a trial to our premium daily news
service aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging
For any other enquiries about our
products or corporate discounts please
contact us at
If you no longer wish to receive
Magazine annual print
Website & Archive
Combined package: web
access & magazine print
Take a trial to our premium daily news service
aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging Europe: