IRNA – EU Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) is now operational with Iran saying that the European partners need to buy oil from Iran to regulate the trade relations paralyzed over the past one year after US withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The promised financial mechanism of Europe to initiate trade exchanges with Iran aimed to compensating a part of damages caused by the US renegade on the JCPOA.
After months of ups and downs, the INSTEX, became operational by processing the first transaction. The news was announced by the Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Helga Schmid. The German diplomat, after a joint arbitral commission of the JCPOA on Friday, said in a tweet that “INSTEX now operational, first transactions being processed and more EU Members States to join. Good progress on Arak and Fordow projects.”
Abbas Araqchi, the head of Iranian delegation to the Joint Arbitral Commission said in Vienna that the outcome although far from what Iran demands, but was described as “a step forward”.
Other countries have now announced preparedness to join the INSTEX as shareholders. Before the news, the Wall Street Journal had reported that the European states were scrambling to keep their economic relations with Iran. They will launch a credit line to support the INSTEX, it said.
Iranian officials have warned that if the mechanism does not conform to their expectations.
Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s permanent representative in the UN, told reporters on Saturday evening that INSTEX is like a luxury car without gas, if it does not receive financial support.
Heshmatollah Falahatpishe, Member of Parliament and commissioner of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, wrote on Twitter that the mechanism should be given opportunity.
Mostafa Kavakebian, another Iranian lawmaker, urged Europe to include oil in the INSTEX as well as financial transactions.
Despite Tehran’s cautious reactions, the news of INSTEX being operational was welcomed by Europe, and Russia. Seven European countries—Austria, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden—in a joint statement expressed their support for the efforts for implementation of INSTEX.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow is willing to join the countries that will regulate trade exchanges with Iran through the mechanism.
Iranians exercised patience over the past six months since the EU promised to launch Special Purpose Vehicle and the INSEXT to ensure Iranians that the US withdrawal from the JCPOA will no longer damage the Iranian economy.
Iran at the same time exercised good faith over the past one year since Trump administration withdrew from the JCPOA terming the one-year term as the “Strategic Patience”.
Now it seems that INSTEX is not only a financial catalyst, but also it is playing the part of a benchmark for assessing Europe’s resolve for preservation of the JCPOA.
Many observers believe that Tehran’s compliance with the deal is a trump card for Iran at the international level. That Europe, with any motivation, is trying to save the deal, and the White House’s businessman cannot form coalition against Iran.