Iranian envoy slams critics of EU’s payment channel

Tasnim – Iran’s ambassador to Britain said while the European Union’s special financial mechanism for trade with Iran known as INSTEX has not become operational yet, extremists in the region and those close to US President Donald Trump are mocking the payment channel.

“While the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) has not become operational yet, those opposed to (Iran’s) Establishment, the extremists of the region and those close to Trump, have (attempted to) mock and weaken it in unison,” Hamid Baeedinejad said on his twitter account on Saturday.

They are desperately trying to portray INSTEX as ineffective, he added.

However, the fact is that INSTEX is a financial institution and not a part of the European Commission so it is not necessary for all member states of the European Union to join it, the ambassador wrote, responding to critics who say EU members have not reached a consensus on INSTEX.

Britain, France and Germany on Thursday issued a joint statement on the creation of the INSTEX that will allow trade between the EU and Iran without relying on direct financial transactions.

“INSTEX will support legitimate European trade with Iran, focusing initially on the sectors most essential to the Iranian population — such as pharmaceutical, medical devices and agri-food goods,” the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France — Jeremy Hunt, Heiko Maas and Jean-Yves Le Drian — said in the joint statement.

INSTEX has been registered in France and will be run by German banker and former Commerzbank manager Per Fischer. The new special purpose vehicle will have a supervisory board consisting of diplomats from all three countries: Miguel Berger of Germany, Maurice Gourdault-Montagne of France and Simon McDonald of Britain.

The European Union has vowed to counter Trump’s renewed sanctions on Iran, including by means of a new law to shield European companies from punitive measures.

On May 8, the US president pulled his country out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal that was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).

Following the US exit, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the accord.

Trump on August 6 signed an executive order re-imposing many sanctions on Iran, three months after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

He said the US policy is to levy “maximum economic pressure” on the country.

The second batch of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic took effect on November 4.