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The EU as a Foreign Policy Actor in the Nuclear Realm: The Soft and the Not-So-Soft Power

Ilina Cenevska

The paper traces EU’s involvement as a foreign policy actor in the nuclear energy field, a field where the EU ostensibly plays two intrinsically different roles – the first, as a “soft” power, and the second, as a “hard” power that possesses an important sanctioning authority. In this respect, sanctions are used as a tool to promote the objectives of EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, namely, the furtherance of peace, democracy and the respect for the rule of law and human rights. Nevertheless, the sanctions the EU adopts within the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy carry significant legal consequences for the human rights situation of the natural and legal persons affected. The paper follows a case study approach, focusing on the case of Sahar Fahimian, an Iranian doctoral student who was denied residence in Germany as a result of the application of EU’s comprehensive sanctions regime towards Iran. By observing how the said sanctions regime has affected particular individuals, the paper aims to square the far-reaching consequences borne by EU’s sanctions and the potential fundamental rights breaches thereby arising.

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