Iran, three EU states to hold 1st round of expert-level talks on INSTEX in Paris soon

February 6, 2019 - 14:33

Iran and its three European partners in the 2015 nuclear deal will soon begin talks in Paris, France, in an effort to work out the operational details of a newly-launched financial mechanism meant to protect Tehran-Europe trade ties against US sanctions.

On a visit to Paris on Tuesday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi reached an agreement with French officials to hold the first round of expert-level discussions in the near future on the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX), the official name of the non-dollar trade mechanism.

The planned talks will involve Tehran and the three shareholders of the trade system, namely France, Germany, and Britain.

INSTEX was launched last week in a bid to protect European business links with Tehran by circumventing the American bans, which were re-imposed against Iran last year following Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The mechanism has been registered in Paris and will be financed jointly by the three European countries and run by a German banker. It is initially intended to be used for selling food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran, but it could be expanded to cover other areas of trade in the future.

Araqchi was in Paris to take part in the sixth round of Iran-France political consultations with French Foreign Ministry Secretary General Maurice Gourdault-Montagne.

They discussed the latest developments regarding bilateral relations, the JCPOA’s implementation, INSTEX, France’s commitments under the nuclear deal, regional issues and the fight against terrorism.

During the meeting, Araqchi said that Iran has completely honored its obligations under the JCPOA, but that the other parties have so far failed to do so.

 “As a result, the balance in the JCPOA’s implementation has been lost,” he added.

Araqchi further welcomed the launch of INSTEX, noting, “The mechanism was declared after a long delay, but we hope that it will become operational soon.”

The French official, for his part, stressed that Paris would keep up support for the nuclear deal and that INSTEX had been designed towards that end.

He also described Iran as an important and influential country, expressing France’s keenness to continue dialog with the Islamic Republic in all areas of mutual interest.

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