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EU sanctions: exit strategies

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The agreement reached in Vienna over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) between Iran and the E3+3 (France, Germany, the UK, China, Russia and the US) lays the ground for the gradual lifting of restrictive measures imposed against the Islamic Republic. Having already activated a first round of limited (and reversible) sanctions relief alongside the US in January 2014, the EU is now set to adopt an ‘exit strategy’: a procedural roadmap to ease punitive measures in accordance with Iranian compliance.

With a track record of effectively rewarding acquiescent targets, the EU stands out as a responsive ‘sanctioner’. In contrast to the US, the EU has repeatedly adopted a strategy aimed at incentivising progressive compliance with economic and diplomatic pay-offs.