In 2003, the “E3”-Germany, France, and the United Kingdom-engaged Iran in talks over Tehran’s nuclear program and were joined in negotiations the next year by the European Union (EU). Given the dim prospects of success for these talks, why did the E3/EU pursue nuclear negotiations with Iran? This article’s three-track analysis attempts to answer that question by examining the emergence of the EU nonproliferation policy prior to the E3/EU-Iran talks, analyzing the European-Iranian relationship as it pertains to cooperation and negotiations over nonproliferation and other issues, and considering contemporary influences on the E3/EU. The European Union was ultimately unsuccessful in its negotiations with Tehran, but its efforts were worthwhile. In the future, the organization can play a vital nonproliferation role; today, the circumstances that hampered previous European efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff have improved and could be capitalized on by the European Union and the international community.
Read the full article from The Nonproliferation Review here.