British diplomat says surprised over reactions to EU trio statement supporting INSTEX

December 2, 2019

TEHRAN – British Ambassador to Tehran Rob Macaire has expressed surprise to reactions to a statement by the European Union trio in which they welcomed six new European countries joining the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX).

“Surprised by the tone of some reactions to this statement,” Macaire tweeted on Monday.

The ambassador did not refer directly to any particular country or official but the U.S. and Israel have shown their indignation as Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden issued a joint statement on Friday announcing becoming shareholders of INSTEX established by Britain, Germany and France for non-dollar trade with Iran.

In a video released on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said European countries “should be ashamed of themselves” for pursing trade with Iran, claiming that they were enabling Tehran “to develop nuclear weapons.”

Also in a tweet on Saturday night the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Allen Grenell, slammed the new European countries joining the financial mechanism.

Ambassador Macaire said, “We continue to express concern about the human rights situation in Iran. But INSTEX shows we will work to support trade – which benefits all Iranians – as long as the JCPOA continues.” 

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden issued a joint statement on Friday announcing becoming shareholders of INSTEX.

In their statement the six countries said, “In light of the continuous European support for the agreement and the ongoing efforts to implement the economic part of it and to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran, we are now in the process of becoming shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) subject to completion of national procedures. INSTEX was established by France, Germany and the United Kingdom in January 2019.”

It added, “The nuclear agreement was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council and is as a key instrument for the global non-proliferation regime and a major contribution to stability in the region.”

France, Germany and the United Kingdom issued a statement on Saturday welcoming the decision by the six countries.

“As founding shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), France, Germany and the United Kingdom warmly welcome the decision taken by the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, to join INSTEX as shareholders,” read the statement published by website of the UK Foreign Ministry on Saturday.

It added, “This step further strengthens INSTEX and demonstrates European efforts to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran and is a clear expression of our continuing commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

The statement also noted that full and effective implementation of the JCPOA is of the utmost importance.

In a tweet on Friday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian welcomed the move.

He said that the six European countries made an important decision to join INSTEX.

The foreign minister also said that the Europeans are strongly committed to support the nuclear deal.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has also welcomed decision by the six new European states.

INSTEX has been designed to facilitate legitimate trade with Tehran. It was introduced on January 31.

It was introduced long after the U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran and threatened to punish any country or company that does business with Iran.

On March 20, Iran’s central bank governor Abdolnaser Hemmati announced that a mechanism similar to INSTEX has been registered in Iran, officially called the Special Trade and Finance Institute (STFI).

NA/PA

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