Onderco, M. (2015) “Money can’t buy you love. EU member states and Iranian nuclear program 2002-2009”. European Security. 24(1), 56-76
The controversy of the Iranian nuclear programme divided the European Union (EU) member states. Whereas some states preferred confrontation, others were in favour of the accommodation. Policy commentators frequently ascribed this difference to diverging economic interests of Europeans, but this link remained underexplored. In this article, the empirical link between the economic interests and positions towards Iran is explored. The analysis rests on the evaluation of both overall and strategic trade flows. The results suggest that while trade played a certain role in the shaping of the policies, the effect of the strength of the alliance with the USA explains a large part of the puzzle. The article thus casts shadow on the established policy narrative of economic interests being the driver of the EU members’ Iran policy. In addition, the theoretical implications cast shadow over the applicability of commercial liberalism on instances of confrontation short of war.