By Mahmoud Hakamian
Iran's UN representative has dismissed the EU’s special financial mechanism, designed to subvert US sanctions on Iran, as a car without gas.
On June 25, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said that the Instrument for Trade and Exchanges (INSTEX), which uses barter-based trade to evade US sanctions, might be ready and operational soon.
But Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi said on Saturday, June 29, that Europe has not provided enough credit to make INSTEX fully operational.
He further insisted that INSTEX was not enough to allay Iran's concerns about Europe not protecting them from US sanctions, which were imposed after the US withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018.
He said: "This mechanism without money is like a lovely car which has run out of fuel. Personally, I think INSTEX is not sufficient in [its] current condition."
For this reason, Takht Ravanchi believes that Iran “cannot” comply with the nuclear deal, whilst facing sanctions from the US over its oil exports, trade, and banking, which have forced the Iranian economy into a deep recession.
He said: "We cannot continue to carry out our obligations under the JCPOA single-handedly and without benefiting from it."
His comments came one day after Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi complained that “Iran's expectations have not been fully satisfied yet" following a meeting with representatives of the remaining signatories to the JCPOA in Vienna.
Just after the meeting of the joint commission on the JCPOA, Helga Schmid, the Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), confirmed the reports that INSTEX is operational.
She wrote on Twitter on Friday: "INSTEX is now operational, first transactions being processed and more E.U. Members States to join. Good progress on Arak and Fordow projects."
The US special representative for Iran Brian Hook responded to the meeting with a warning that Europe could either do business with the United States or do business with Iran. The US has repeatedly warned the EU and other countries against breaching the sanctions or providing a workaround. Many companies have already headed the warning and ended their ties to Iran.
Europe is making a last-ditch effort to make INSTEX operational following Iran’s continued threats about violating the nuclear deal by increasing the levels of enriched uranium, which is a key ingredient in the making of nuclear weapons.