France: INSTEX mechanism to facilitate European commercial ties with Iran

The E.U.-conceptualised commercial trade framework towards Iran was introduced earlier on Thursday by the delegations of Britain, France and Germany. The new framework aims to restore commercial interactions with Iran performed under a non-dollar scheme, thus effectively circumventing U.S. sanctions on Tehran. The mechanism came as a response to Washington’s unilateral withdrawal last year from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The U.S. President Donald Trump criticised the deal for not curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and not resolving the problem of Tehran’s meddling with political developments in the Middle East.

The Iran nuclear deal was a compromisory solution offering relaxation of international sanctions regime in exchange for increase cooperation by Iranian authorities over its uranium enrichment programme. With U.S. unilateral withdrawal Iran threatened to invalidate the agreement, forcing European counterparts to provide reassurances of a loosened sanctions regime. The E.U.-conceptualised mechanism fulfils the stated objective trading Iranian oil and gas exports with European merchandise. The system may have been officially inaugurated today but it needs several months before becoming fully operations. The mechanism is best known as the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) and is a registered entity in Paris, operating under French commercial laws. INSTEX is led by a German national, former head of Commerzbank, Per Fischer. Washington remains sceptical of the INSTEX initiative while the three European representatives called other countries to participate in the mechanism.

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