Iran’s Supreme Leader calls EU mechanism for trade with Tehran ‘Bitter Joke’

Sputnik – Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday that the European Union had essentially withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, and the trade mechanism it created to allow companies to bypass US sanctions and continue trading with Iranian entities looked like “a bitter joke.”

“It’s been repeated recently that Europeans have created #instex [the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges] financial channel. This is more like a joke, a bitter joke. What they’re responsible to do is totally different from what they’re doing. Once again, Europeans stabbed us in the back. We can’t expect them anything,”  Ayatollah Khamenei said in a statement released on Twitter.

According to Ayatollah Khamenei, EU states, instead of showing opposition to the US decision to withdraw from the deal, in practice, have withdrawn themselves from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The statement echoes other rhetoric previously voiced by the Iranian Supreme Leader, saying that EU signatories to the deal were deceiving Tehran.

All the JCPOA signatories, which have not left the agreement after the US last year’s withdrawal, agreed that a special mechanism would be established to facilitate trade between companies and Iran amid the American sanctions.

The US sanctions against Tehran were reinstated last year after the United States withdrew from the JCPOA, which provided for the relief of economic sanctions against Tehran in return for Iran’s pledge to keep its nuclear program peaceful. In August and November, two packages of sanctions came into effect with the aim of forcing Tehran to negotiate a new agreement.