Iran seeks speedy implementation of commitments as EU sets up payment channel with Iran

February 1, 2019 - 21:6

TEHRAN – The Foreign Ministry issued a statement of Thursday saying Tehran welcomes the European Union’s payments mechanisms to skirt the U.S. sanctions against Iran, yet it sought an immediate implementation of the payment channel.

“Iran calls for full implementation of the European Union’s commitments in the shortest period of time,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said.

On Thursday, France, Germany and Britain officially announced the creation of INSTEX SAS (Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges), a special purpose vehicle aimed at facilitating legitimate trade between European economic operators and Iran. 

Qassemi urged the EU to take immediate action to implement INSTEX in line with Iran’s economic benefits from the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“The European Union’s act in establishing the mechanisms was very late. It is essential for the European Union to make sure that this action will make up for a part of the U.S. illegal actions,” he insisted.

Despite EU’s political position to save the nuclear deal since the U.S. exited the accord and also its insistence on the need that Iranians take economic benefits from the agreement, “unfortunately so far we have not seen any tangible and concrete move” by the bloc to meet Iran’s economic benefits, Qassemi explained. 
The Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Iran is ready to continue “constructive interaction” with Europe based on respecting mutual interests.

‘INSTEX will support legitimate European trade with Iran’

The European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt issued a statement saying the INSTEX will support legitimate European trade with Iran.

“INSTEX will support legitimate European trade with Iran, focusing initially on the sectors most essential to the Iranian population – such as pharmaceutical, medical devices and agri-food goods. INSTEX aims in the long term to be open to economic operators from third countries who wish to trade with Iran and the E3 continue to explore how to achieve this objective,” the statement said, France Diplomatie reported.

It added that INSTEX will function under the highest international standards with regards to anti-money laundering, combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and EU and UN sanctions compliance.

President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. unilaterally from the 2015 nuclear deal in May and ordered sanctions against Iran. The first round of sanctions went into force on August 6 and the second round, which targets Iran’s oil exports and banks, were snapped back on November 4.

According to CNBC, Mogherini said in Bucharest, Romania, at a meeting of the bloc that the EU is “fully behind the full implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.”

A statement from official also said, "The lifting of sanctions is an essential dimension of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the Iran nuclear deal. The instrument launched today will provide economic operators with the necessary framework to pursue legitimate trade with Iran." 

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also told reporters that "we're making clear that we didn't just talk about keeping the nuclear deal with Iran alive, but now we're creating a possibility to conduct business transactions."

According to DW, Maas added, "This is a precondition for us to meet the obligations we entered into in order to demand from Iran that it doesn't begin military uranium enrichment." 

What is INSTEX?

* A "special purpose vehicle" that will allow European businesses to trade with Iran, despite strict U.S. sanctions.

* According to media reports, INSTEX will be based in Paris and will be managed by German banking expert Per Fischer, a former manager at Commerzbank. The UK will head the supervisory board.

* The European side intends to use the channel initially only to sell food, medicine and medical devices in Iran. However, it will be possible to expand it in the future.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told national television it was "a first step taken by the European side ... We hope it will cover all goods and items."


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