Russia welcomes INSTEX progress

April 3, 2020 - 17:47

TEHRAN — Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has welcomed the progress made by the three European countries regarding the INSTEX financial mechanism.

In a weekly press conference on Thursday, Zakharova said the need for such a tool, especially in the face of challenges such as the coronavirus outbreak, is felt more than ever before, IRNA reported.

She stressed that unilateral sanctions in such circumstances that Iran is scrambling to contain the deadly coronavirus are completely illegal, cruel and immoral.

According to the latest numbers released by Iran’s Health Ministry on Friday, 53,183 Iranians have contracted the disease, 3,294 of which have lost their lives. Another 17,935     people have also recovered from the disease.

The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) has been designed by the European Union to facilitate legitimate trade with Tehran. It was introduced on January 31, 2019, by France, Germany, and Britain, the three countries party to the nuclear deal.

INSTEX was supposed to be a financial channel and a special mechanism for transferring money in spite of U.S. sanctions on Iran. Its objective was to facilitate Iran's transactions with European companies.

In May 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA, and reinstated old sanctions and introduced new ones on the Islamic republic.

Since then, the other signatories to the JCPOA have been trying to save the deal, partly by opening up the INSTEX, which Iran said was unfruitful.

On Tuesday, the German Foreign Ministry said Germany, France, and Britain “confirm that INSTEX has successfully concluded its first transaction, facilitating the export of medical goods from Europe to Iran.”

“These goods are now in Iran,” it said in a statement, giving no further details.

The German Foreign Ministry added that Berlin hopes to enhance the mechanism and carry out more transactions with Tehran.

“Now the first transaction is complete, INSTEX and its Iranian counterpart STFI (Special Trade and Finance Instrument) will work on more transactions and enhancing the mechanism,” the German Foreign Ministry said.

In her press conference, Zakharova referred to the first transaction carried out within the INSTEX framework and stated that obviously, progress in implementing INSTEX will help promote countries' cooperation with Iran and the development of legal economic and trade cooperation with the country in the face of sanctions imposed by the United States.

Russia welcomed it when the mechanism was created and “today we are pleased with its development”, the spokesperson said.

Zakharova went on to say that it took about a year for INSTEX to be actually launched and information about the mechanism was first released in June 2019.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said her country was aware of the fact that it is difficult for the European Union to work out effective mechanisms that can eliminate the impact of U.S. illegal sanctions.

She added, however, that certain results have been achieved and efforts must be made now to complete the projects and improve the quality and speed of work.

Zakharova said that the safeguarding of this mechanism is the rapid inclusion of the list of goods subject to U.S. sanctions, as well as the expansion of the list of countries participating in it, with the participation of countries outside the European Union and Iran’s major trading partners.

MH/PA

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