Russia to join INSTEX as ruble replaces dollar in Tehran-Moscow trade

The special purpose channel was launched late January as part of the European Union efforts to help Iran enjoy the economic dividends of the nuclear deal that’s been jeoperdised by the US walkout last May.

13 February 2019
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Russia says it wants to join the European special financial mechanism INSTEX, created by three European Union member states to continue trade with Iran. 

“We have confirmed our interest that Europe-launched INSTEX be open to third countries, including Russia,” said Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on Tuesday following talks with French officials in Paris, according to the Russian media.  

“This way, its effectiveness will increase and our Iranian colleagues can feel more clearly the bonuses and dividends of cooperation with European and other governments,” he added, saying that “much attention has been paid to the situation about Iran’s nuclear programme and maintaining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

He went to predict that his country will finally join the special purpose vehicle. “We will have a full-fledged participation in it,” Ryabkov said.

Three European countries, Germany, France, the UK, who remain in the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran despite the US withdrawal, have set a non-dollar financial channel, called INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange), in a bid to allow the uninterrupted export of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and agri-foods.   

The high-level Russian official also called on the European Union to stop ambiguity regarding the financial channel. “The European Union has to rise farther than its ambiguous approaches of “ours and yours” and do something so Iran sees real efforts," he stressed. 

Ryabkov also called EU’s demands that Iran create a similar mechanism “a rise in some artificial desires and counterproductive demands”.

Following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions, Tehran has been hard at work not to use dollar in its foreign transactions. Russian Ambassador to Iran, Levan Jagargyan has said the two countries are using the Russian ruble in their bilateral trade.

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