INSTEX president in Iran to work out details

Per Fischer, the former German banker who has been appointed to run the European special payment channel INSTEX, has arrived in Iran in a bid to iron out the details of the financial scheme.

13 March 2019
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Per Fischer, the former German banker who has been appointed to run the European special payment channel INSTEX, has arrived in Iran in a bid to iron out the details of the financial scheme.

Per Fischer (middle) poses with the E3 heads of mission in Iran. (Photo: Uk Embassy in Iran Twitter)

Per Fischer, president of the European special payment channel INSTEX, has held talks with Iranian officials on how to speed up the implementation of financial mechanism.

The former German banker arrived in Tehran on Monday night and was received by heads of the German, French and British missions in Iran. They have all published tweets with the same wording and picture following Fischer’s arrival, calling the visit an “important step”.

A screenshot of a tweet by UK Embassy in Iran following the arrival of Per Fischer 

The official, who is tasked with running the European channel, previously called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), negotiated with Deputy Iranian Foreign Minsiter Abbas Araqchi as well as several Iranian private sector economic operators during a working dinner that was held at the residence of German Ambassador Michael Klor-Berchtold in Tehran. Indian and Chinese envoys have reportedly attended the meeting.

“Mr Fischer said INSTEX can save the economic benefits of the Iran nuclear deal and that it should be implemented step by step,” an Iranian businessman who attending the dinner has been cited as saying by Iranian media.

INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) has been created by Germany, France and the UK, the three European Union member states (E3) that are also signatories to the 2015 international agreement on Iran nuclear programa also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

It was announced by the E3 foreign ministers on 31 January on the sidelines of an EU summit in the Romanian capital Bucharest. The state company was created in response to the US unilateral walkout from the Iran deal last May and reimposition of two rounds of sanctions last August and November.

INSTEX has been registered at the address of the French Economy and Finance Ministry in Paris. Per Fischer, a former president of the German Commerzbank, has been chosen for a period of six months to run the company. Also, senior UK diplomat Simon McDonald will head the Supervisory Board.

On Tuesday, Fischer and the European trio envoys held talks with Iranian officials, including the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), Industry, Mine and Trade Ministry, Oil Ministry, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) and the flag carrier Iran Air.

In a bid for INSTEX to become fully operational, Iran needs to create a mirror company. Central Bank of Iran announced last month that it is creating a similar firm and that it will unveil it soon.

In its initial phase, the European channel is meant to trade humanitarian commodities and goods (Medicine, medical devices and agri-foods) that although don’t fall under the US secondary sanctions however lack of banking ties with Iran have hugely impeded their trade.

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