Paris, London and Berlin on Saturday welcomed six new European countries to the INSTEX barter mechanism, which is designed to circumvent U.S. sanctions against trade with Iran by avoiding use of the dollar.
“As founding shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), France, Germany and the United Kingdom, also known as E3, welcome the decision taken by the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, to join INSTEX as shareholders,” the three said in a joint statement.
The Paris-based INSTEX was established in January 2019, as a clearing house allowing Iran to continue to sell oil and import other products or services in exchange.
The mechanism was initially launched for humanitarian goods trading such as food and medical supplies, which were exempt from the U.S. sanctions.
The joint statement was seen as a major move of the European countries to show Tehran their continued efforts to save the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), a deal that guarantees Iran free economic development under the premises of cutting nuclear programs.
The United States unilaterally tore up the deal back in May last year. Iran has since borne the aftermath of economic sanctions, while calling for rest of the signatories to comply with the deal.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on a Thursday interview with Dutch NRC daily that Iran has been hit by the U.S. sanctions and stressed the necessity of getting rid of those sanctions.
“There are still hopes for saving the nuclear deal, however, the issue depends on the Europeans’ commitment to the implementation of their obligations,” said Araghchi, urging the European countries to tackle the situation.
Iran didn’t reinstate its nuclear program development until a year after the deal was broken, in hopes of preserving the deals with the help of other signatories, especially those from the European Union.
Meanwhile, the E3 has restated its stand in full compliance with the deal, granting all the legitimate financial transactions between the EU and Iran. Meanwhile, they’ve also asked for Iran to abide the rule in the agreement, limiting nuclear development activities that have resumed for six months.
The European members have previously missed several deadlines set by Iran to come up with feasible plans, and now it has lifted the ban on the 300 kilograms nuclear fuel stockpile limit in the agreement and started nuclear research activities again.
The Trump administration has been maximizing the sanction pressure on Iran and warns other countries not try to change the status quo.
(With input from AFP)