Press TV – Up to 7,000 German business enterprises are estimated to seek continued trade with Iran, says the managing director of the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce, following the launch of a payment vehicle that enables continued European trade with the Islamic Republic irrespective of unilateral sanctions by the United States.
Michael Tockuss said in an interview with the German business news weekly Wirtschaftswoche on Saturday that the launch of the payment vehicle — known as the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, or INSTEX — was a welcome development and that it would enable European companies to engage in barter transactions with Iran.
“Our estimate is that between 5,000 and 7,000 small- and medium-scale businesses are still after trade with Iran,” Tockuss said.
France, Germany, and Britain unveiled INSTEX, which is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), on Thursday to facilitate “legitimate trade between European economic operators and Iran.”
INSTEX took months to prepare, and the idea to set it up came after the US unilaterally withdrew from a multilateral deal with Iran and five other, mainly European, parties. On withdrawal, the US also re-imposed its so-called primary sanctions against Iran and secondary sanctions against countries that continue to do business with it.
Iran and the other parties have nevertheless remained in the deal. And Europe considers trade with Iran legitimate. It also disapproves of the US withdrawal and its sanctions on European trade with Iran while also seeking to keep Iran in the deal by attempting to keep the economic dividends expected under the deal flowing to the country.
Iranian officials have said the launch of INSTEX is only a first step.
‘US trying to instill fear in Europe’
Tockuss said the notion that US sanctions will cut off business with Iran was wrong.
The secondary American sanctions, he said, are targeted against large-scale European businesses that would continue to do business with Iran. US authorities are unaware of the many other businesses that are in contact with Iran, he added.
The Americans, he said, were nevertheless attempting to instill fear in all European firms to dissuade them from doing business with Iran.
Tockuss said that, legally, that was not how the sanctions actually worked. He explained that only those German businesses that have American shareholders or use American capital can be subjected to the secondary US sanctions against Iran.
“All other firms can have business transactions with Iran without concern,” he said.