Over a year since its launch, the EU’s INSTEX financial mechanism – designed to facilitate trade with sanctions-hit Iran – has not carried out any operations, Iran’s ambassador to Russia Kazem Jalali has revealed.
“The Europeans have developed the INSTEX mechanism, but to date, as I’m talking to you, no transactions has been made,” Jalali said during a meeting with Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian senate.
The special purpose vehicle INSTEX was established by France, Germany and the United Kingdom in January 2019 in an attempt to rescue the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. The move came after the US, which used to be one of the parties of the landmark deal, unilaterally abandoned the accord and restored tough sanctions on the Islamic Republic. After the trade channel became operational, six more EU states – Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden – decided to join it.
While the mechanism is still far from being implemented, having such a financial instrument could be more vital than ever for Iran, as it has been hit hardest among Middle Eastern countries by the coronavirus outbreak. The pneumonia-causing disease that originated from China has already killed 66 people in the country and infected more than 1,500.
Although the European initiatives to save the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), look good on paper, Iran has repeatedly slammed the partners for their lack of action. Since the US’ withdrawal from the deal, Tehran has been gradually scaling back its nuclear commitments. One of the latest steps was made in January, when it announced that it would determine the enrichment level and the amount of enriched material it produced only in accordance with its own needs.
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