By Mehran Shamsuddin

Failure of INSTEX indicative of European non-compliance with JCPOA: spokesman

February 12, 2023 - 21:54

TEHRAN – Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, has commented on the quiet shutdown of a European mechanism that was devised to mitigate the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The mechanism, formally called INSTEX, was quietly shut down in late January after being dormant for a long period of time.

The controversial history of INSTEX dates back to the heady days of 2019 when France, Germany, and the UK - collectively known as the E3-, were trying to rein in a Trump administration bent on dismantling the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA), through blanket economic sanctions that ran counter to the lofty promises envisioned in the terms of the JCPOA.

In May of 2018, then-U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, reimposing sweeping economic sanctions against Iran with the aim of choking off its economy. In order to address Iran’s grievances, the E3 came up with the idea of INSTEXT. Thus began the story of a mechanism that miserably failed in fulfilling its mandate.

The INSTEX mechanism was at first devised to facilitate Iran’s oil sales but did not process even a single oil sales transaction. 

Kanaani told the Tehran Times that the failure of the ill-fated mechanism was indicative of the fact that the European governments failed to live up to their commitments under the JCPOA. 

Following is the full text of the Tehran Times’ interview with Kanaani:

At the end of January, the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) was dismantled. What does it indicate?

It indicates that European governments failed to honor their undertakings in terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and compensating for the losses caused as a result of US’s illegal and unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and they have not been able to meet the Islamic Republic of Iran’s expectations. 

What is the update about blacklisting IRGC as UK’s media have announced it has been stopped?

Blacklisting Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) was an irresponsible action raised due to EU’s officials’ misunderstanding and under the influence of the enemies and opponents of the Islamic Republic in the European’ s parliament.  The IRGC is the biggest anti-terrorist force in the region and in the world. According to Iran Constitution, IRGC is among the official and armed forces and blacklisting it violates the provisions of the UN Charter. Of course, Iran has given the necessary warnings about this issue and I hope wise people and prudent groups in Europe prevent any irrational move in this regard. 

In his recent interview with Wall Street Journal, Josep Borrell does not look very disappointed but he seems to be the only protector of JAPOA in Europe; he has also given some warnings to Iran regarding missile sale to Russia and the end of JCPOA, [ do you think] Borrell has distanced himself from his role as the facilitator of negotiations?

Josep Borrell, as the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, has taken the facilitating role in resuming JCPOA negotiations and lifting sanctions, and he is still trying to fulfill his role. The positions of European and American officials show that they are optimistic towards the JCPOA as an agreement to resolve disputes over nuclear issue, and they believe in resuming the implementation of the JCPOA. Generally, the path of diplomacy is open, especially since the Islamic Republic as the other side of the deal also has exerted serious effort into diplomacy and negotiations, but any agreement is a two-way path.

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