EU foreign ministers are meeting for an informal meeting in Bucharest. On the agenda: The rescue of the nuclear agreement with Iran – with the help of a system that should not please the US.

Germany, France and Great Britain want to start according to information of the German press agency this Thursday the planned system for the bypass of the economic sanctions of the USA against the Iran. In concrete terms, the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Bucharest should announce the founding of a company that will be able to settle payments for Iran transactions in the future if private banks no longer declare their willingness to pay due to imminent US penalties.
Germany, France and Britain want to help save the international nuclear agreement with Iran. This threatens to fail because of the reintroduction of US sanctions. Iran was promised to lift its nuclear program by lifting economic sanctions.

Lever out US sanctions

Nuclear talks in Vienna completed (picture-alliance / dpa / H. Neubauer)

Successful nuclear talks: In 2015, six countries, including Germany and the US, came to an agreement with Iran (archive image)

The Special Purpose Vehicle to circumvent US sanctions, known in technical terms as the “Special Purpose Vehicle”, is now designed to ensure that European companies can do business with Iran, despite stringent US sanctions. It acts as a kind of exchange, in which claims of European and Iranian companies can be offset against each other.
For example, Iran could continue to deliver oil or other products to Europe. The money would then not flow through banks to Iran, but to European companies, for example, sell drugs, food or industrial goods in Iran. The US sanctions against the payment system with Iran would be undermined.

Bank specialist from Frankfurt at the top

Whether the SPV based in Paris can really make an impact is considered uncertain. That’s because they can not protect European companies from US sanctions. It is therefore especially interesting for companies that prefer to do business in Iran rather than the US and therefore do not fear a market exclusion in the United States.

United States Heiko Maas at the United Nations (picture-alliance / dpa / Kay Nietfeld)

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas: “The implementation of the plans is imminent.”

The head of the special purpose vehicle is to become the former German Commerzbank manager Per Fischer. The confirmed EU diplomat at the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Bucharest. According to an entry in the French Commercial Register, the name of the company is “Instex”. The abbreviation stands for “Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges” – in English: “instrument for supporting trading activities”. The Supervisory Board therefore comprises representatives of France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

At the same time, the EU is trying to integrate the SPV into its overall critical attitude towards Iran. Therefore, a joint declaration of all EU states to Iran is planned. They were now able to agree on a joint draft, the news agency AFP learned. The declaration should be adopted as the official EU conclusions following the announcement of the SPV in a written assent procedure.
The statement reiterates its concern about the Iranian missile program and Tehran’s role in regional conflicts such as Syria and Yemen. They also denounce attacks against Iranian opposition in Europe.

Single-handed US

The US unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement last year, despite major concerns among Europeans . President Donald Trump justified the decision on the grounds that it did not bring peace to the Middle East. In addition, he accused Teheran to work despite the deal on the development of nuclear weapons.
Europeans are very critical of Iran’s role in the region, like the US. They point out, however, that the agreement is only indirect and Iran has so far complied with all commitments in writing. The latter has been confirmed 13 times by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) after independent investigations.
Iran has recently once again put pressure on the EU and again threatened to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal. “Before it gets too late, we call on Europeans not to fail in this achievement that is important to the international community,” said Vice-President and nuclear chief Ali-Akbar Salehi. If the EU does not live up to its obligations under the deal, Iran will be able to withdraw from the agreement at any time.

US sharply criticizes EU plan to circumvent Iran sanctions | Mike Pompeo (Getty Images / AFP / M.Ngan)

US Secretary of State Pompeo: Sharp criticism of EU plan to circumvent Iran sanctions

It is still unclear how the US will react to the step of the EU states. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last September that his country would not tolerate circumventing Iran sanctions.

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