Switzerland to open trade channel with Iran in very near future: Businesswoman

Press TV – A senior Iranian businesswoman says that Switzerland will soon open its special humanitarian channel with Iran to facilitate trade with the country at the time of American sanctions.

“I was informed by the Swiss embassy (in Tehran) that this move will come into effect in the very near future,” said Faryal Mostofi, who heads the money and capital committee of Tehran’s Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday.

Mostofi said that Switzerland had already secured the required permissions from the United States, which bans trade with Iran as part of a set of illegal and unilateral sanctions, to launch the so-called humanitarian trade channel.

She said the US Office of Foreign Assets Control, which closely monitors bank payments into the Iranian accounts, has authorized the trade channel.

The businesswoman said, however, that it was a pity that Switzerland should gain the approval of the United States for launching the channel as Washington has repeatedly claimed that its sanctions on Iran should not affect the trade of humanitarian items.

Switzerland said in early December that it would launch its special trade mechanism to pay for exports of food and medicine to Iran.

However, senior Swiss and US officials told Reuters at the time that the launch of the channel would take months.

The imminent launch of the trade channel, as claimed by the Iranian businesswoman, comes against the backdrop of stalled efforts by three European powers to set up a comprehensive trade mechanism that could bypass the American sanctions on Tehran.

Iran has been generally unhappy with efforts led by France to launch the mechanism, which is known as INSTEX, saying the initiative must enable Iran to enjoy the economic benefits of a nuclear deal signed between the country and world powers in 2015.