USA, EU The Problem of Iran: Between Hard and Soft Power

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-8-5-15

A. Shumilin (, 
Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences (IE RAN), 11, build. 3B, Mokhovaya Str., Moscow 125009, Russian Federation;
I. Shumilina (, 
Institute for US and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISK RAN), 2/3, Khlebnyi Per., Moscow 123995, Russian Federation 

Abstract. With Donald Trump in White House, the Iran issue is getting more and more a point of divergence between the U.S. and EU’s Middle East strategies. And that is despite the common assessment of the danger the alleged weaponization of the Iran’s nuclear program might pose to the world. The Tehran’s regional policy is being perceived in Washington – contrary to Brussels – as the main cause of destabilization and degradation in the Middle East. The relatively soft European Union’s line relying on negotiations has been subject to a growing pressure on the American as well as Saudi parts during the last months. Those powers are insisting on “improving” the basic international deal signed in 2015 with Iran. In the meantime, it is getting clear with every day that the threats engineered by Washington to abandon the deal are playing into the hands of the Iranian “hawks” who are displeased with the deal from their side as well. Amid those conditions the EU diplomacy is seeking to keep the deal alive and intact. It will be a difficult task given the resolve from both sides – the American and Iranian “hawks” – to follow their confrontational lines which might not only lead to cancelation (namely, destruction) of the deal but might end up with direct military clashes. Anyway, the closest American allies in the region – Israel and the Arab monarchies – are assumingly ready for such developments. 

Keywords: Iran, USA, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Donald Trump, nuclear deal, ballistic missiles program 


1. Geranmayeh E. The coming clash: Why Iran will divide Europe from the United States. European Council on Foreign Relations, 25th, October, 2017. Available at: (accessed 15.03.2018).

2. Europe’s Iran Diplomacy. European Union Center of North Carolina, EU Briefings, March 2008. Available at: (accessed 16.03.2018).

3. President Delivers State of the Union Address. The President’s State of the Union Address. President George W. Bush. The United States Capitol, The White House, Washington, D.C., January 29, 2002. Available at: (accessed 15.03.2018).

4. Rumsfeld: Iran’s building nuclear arms. UPI. June 12, 2003. Available at: (accessed 15.12.2017).

5. Stolberg S., Santora M. Bush Declares Iran’s Arms Role in Iraq. The New York Times, February 15, 2007. Available at: (accessed 14.12.2017).

6. Boyesand R., Watson R. Saudi Arabia turns up heat on the West over possible Iran nuclear deal. The Times, November 22, 2013.

7. Saudi crown prince: If Iran develops nuclear bomb, so will we. CBS. March 15, 2018. Available at: (accessed 10.03.2018).

8. Norman L., Barnes J. Netanyahu warns Israel may strike Iran if it doesn’t ease up in Syria. The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 18, 2018.

9. Netanyahu demanded to change or cancel agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. TASS, 19.09.2017 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 11.03.2018).

10. Turki bin Faisal al-Saud. Has Iran Changed? Project Syndicate, Jan. 8, 2014. Available at: (accessed 11.03.2018).

11. Sager A. Challenging Times for Saudi Foreign Policy. Arab News, 23 January 2014.

12. Saudi Arabia Rejects UN Security Council Seat. SUSRIS, October 18, 2013. Available at: http://susris. com/2013/10/18/saudi-arabia-declines-un-security-council-membership/ (accessed 12.03.2018).

13. Obaid N., Khashoggi J. The Arab D-Day. The New York Times, September 8, 2013.

14. Annex to U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council Camp David Joint Statement. The White House. President Barack Obama. May 14, 2016. Available at: (accessed 12.03.2018).

15. Remarks by President Trump on Iran Staretegy. The White House. October 13, 2017. Available at: (accessed 14.03.2018).

16. Israel volunteered to single-handedly deter Iran. Military Review, 15.11.2017 (In Russ.) Available at: https://topwar. ru/129682-izrail-vyzvalsya-v-odinochku-sderzhat-iran.html (accessed 11.03.2018).

17. H.R. 1191 – Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. 114th Congress (2015–2016). Available at: (accessed 11.03.2018).

18. Remarks by President Trump on Iran Strategy., October 13, 2017. Available at: (accessed 12.03.2018).

19. Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015). United Nations, Security Council. 12 July 2016. Available at: (accessed 11.03.2018).

20. Iran’s missile production tripled despite enemy pressure: IRGC commander. TehranTimes, March 7, 2018. Available at: (accessed 10.03.2018).

21. What’s Behind Iran’s Continued Missile Muscle-Flexing? FARAS, March 12, 2018. Available at: (accessed 10.03.2018).

22. Statement by the President on the Iran Nuclear Deal. The White House. January 12, 2018. Available at: (accessed 15.03.2018).

23. Ibish H. MbS Trip Will Test Strength of Resurgent U.S.-Saudi Ties. AGSIW, March 14, 2018. Available at: (accessed 15.03.2018).

24. Trump, Saudi Prince & UAE to set up action group against Iran. DEBKA, Mar 20, 2018. Available at: (accessed 21.03.2018).

25. Ibish H. Trump’s Pick of Hawkish Bolton Raises Old Ghosts of 2003 Iraq Invasion. AGSIW, March 26, 2018. Available at: (accessed 26.03.2018).

26. Lake E. John Bolton Has His Chance to Kill the Iran Deal Trump Tried to Fix. Bloomberg View, March 23, 2018. Available at: (accessed 24.03.2018).

27. Beauchamp Z. John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and the rise of Trump’s war cabinet. Vox, Mar 23, 2018. Available at: (accessed 23.03.2018).

28. Struyk B. CNN poll: Two-thirds want to stay in Iran nuclear deal. CNN, October 20, 2017. Available at: (accessed 10.03.2018).

29. Fox News Poll: Voters say Trump talk not helpful on Iran, North Korea. FoxNews, September 28, 2017. Available at: (accessed 11.03.2018).

30. Estelami H. A Study of Iran’s Responses to U.S. Economic Sanctions. MERIA Journal, vol. 3, no. 3, September 1999. Available at: (accessed 15.03.2018).

31. Patterson R. EU Sanctions on Iran: The European Political Context. Middle East Policy, vol. XX, Spring, no. 1. Available at: (accessed 16.03.2018).

32. Countries and regions. Iran. European Commission. 07.07.2016. Available at: countries-and-regions/countries/iran/ (accessed 12.03.2018).

33. Geranmayeh E. The transatlantic divide on Iran. European Council on Foreign Relations, 19th December, 2017. Available at: (accessed 15.03.2018).

34. Sen A. EU Seeks to Preserve Iran Nuclear Deal. Atlantic Council, 10 February 2017. Available at: (accessed 12.03.2018).

35. Bolongaro K. EU Congratulates Rouhani on Iran election win. Politico, 20 May 2017. Available at: (accessed 14.03.2018).

36. Al-Salmi A. French FM in Iran... No Agreement on Ballistic Missile Program. Asharq Al-Awsat, 6 March, 2018.

37. United States and EU3 will develop amendments to the JCPOA. RIA News, 31.01.2018 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 12.03.2018).

38. Stancati M. Saudi Prince Calls for Stepped-Up Pressure on Iran. The Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2018. Available at: (accessed 29.03.2018). 

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Shumilin A., Shumilina I. USA, EU The Problem of Iran: Between Hard and Soft Power. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 8, pp. 5-15.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 5
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • Are There Any Ways to Break Through the Korean Nuclear Impasse?
  • Contemporary U.S. Taiwan Policy: Balancing on the Edge
  • The Gulf Monarchies’ Vision of the Global Order Transformations and the Russian Place in It
  • At Post-Soviet Space
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.