EU mechanism for settlements with Iran failing to gain momentum: Russia's EU envoy

June 8, 2019

(TASS) - The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a European Union’s mechanism for financial settlements with Iran, is failing to gain momentum, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov told TASS on Friday.

"The mechanism is in place but so far it has not gained momentum. The only thing it can now boast is that it is finally yielding some deals. But these are deals on food products which are not covered by the sanctions anyway," he said.

"So, it gives no experience of bypassing the sanctions," the Russian diplomat noted. "Naturally, it is logical to ask: well, if it was created to pay for the goods not falling under the sanctions, then is this mechanism needed at all? My European colleagues keep on telling that this is just the beginning…"

But Iran may run out of patience after all, Chizhov argued. "The Iranian have already given to understand that they may take certain steps and timed this statement to the first anniversary of the United States’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). But these steps don’t go beyond the JCPOA and the announcement of the reciprocal measures fit into the deal so far," he stressed.

The JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed between Iran and six international mediators (the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, and France) in July 2015. Under the deal, Iran undertook to curb its nuclear activities in exchange of abandonment of the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program.

On May 8, 2018, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the deal and imposed economic sanctions seeking to stop Iranian oil exports.

On May 8, 2019, or exactly a year after the United States’ withdrawal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared he was suspending some of Iran’s obligations under the JCPOA. In part, he said that Tehran would resume uranium enrichment and terminate the conversion of the heavy water reactor at Arak, if the signatories to the deal fail to comply with the conditions of the agreement, including those concerning banking and oil trade, within a 60-day deadline.

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