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Iranian diplomat compares EU trade mechanism to 'a car without gas'

Majid Takht-Ravanchi

While the EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini insists that a special mechanism to allow trade with Iran (INSTEX) has become "operational," Iran's permanent representative to the UN says the new device is a car without gas.

In a joint press conference after talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on June 25, in Brussels, Mogherini had said the Instrument for Trade and Exchanges, INSTEX may soon be ready and operational.

INSTEX is a new European payment system for barter-based trade with Iran designed to circumvent U.S. sanctions imposed on Tehran.

However, Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi told reporters on Saturday, June 29, that Europe has failed to provide enough credit to make INSTEX fully operational.

Takht Ravanchi went even further by insisting that INSTEX was not doing enough to allay Iran's concerns.

"This mechanism without money is like a lovely car which has run out of fuel," said Takht Ravanchi, adding, "Personally, I think INSTEX is not sufficient in [its] current condition."

Referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers, Takht Ravanchi lamented, "We cannot continue to carry out our obligations under the JCPOA single-handedly and without benefiting from it."

Crippling sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump's administration have all but stopped Iranian oil exports, trade and banking with the world, pushing its economy inot deep recession

A day earlier, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Abbas Araqchi, had said, "INSTEX is operational, but Iran's expectations have not been fully satisfied yet."

Araqchi made the remark at the end of his meeting with the representatives of the remaining signatories to the JCPOA on Friday in Vienna.

Minutes after a meeting of the joint commission on the JCPOA, the Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Helga Schmid also confirmed the reports that the European financial mechanism to work with Iran is operational.

"INSTEX is now operational, first transactions being processed and more E.U. Members States to join. Good progress on Arak and Fordow projects," Helga Schmid twitted on Friday.

Since its withdrawal from the JCPOA and reimposing tight sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Washington has repeatedly announced its dissatisfaction with any move that might assist Tehran to sidestep the sanctions.

The U.S. special representative for Iran affairs warned on Friday that Europe has a choice: Do business with the United States, or do business with Iran.

The comments by Brian Hook came as European countries made a last-ditch attempt to make INSTEX operational, and prevent Iran from breaching the terms of the JCPOA.

Last Modified: Monday، 01 July 2019 12:44 PM
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