Iran expects EU to speed up creation of SPV: Iran Chamber president

President of Iran Chamber of Commerce says his country has pinned high hopes on Europe’s financial channel with Iran, known as Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), calling it the best solution for the problems caused by the restoration of US sanctions.

11 December 2018
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President of Iran Chamber of Commerce says his country has pinned high hopes on Europe’s financial channel with Iran, known as Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), calling it the best solution for the problems caused by the restoration of US sanctions.

“Many international economic experts believe countries shouldn’t be tied to only one spot”, said Gholam Hossein Shaefi, referring to the US economy and dollar, in a meeting with chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation on Relations with Iran, Tarja Cronberg, in Tehran. “The SPV can help create a breathing room for Iran. We have been counting vey much on Europe’s promise” added the president of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA).

He criticised the EU for delaying on finalising the channel in previous occasions and called on Brussels to do more and “take a definitive decision faster”. If this gets underway, he said, it will solve many of our problems. I think it’s the best solution given the current situation, emphasied the ICCIMA president.

Cronberg said Britain, France and Germany are working hard to make the SPV functional by the year’s end. “Actually people in Germany, France and Britain are working 24 hours to finalise [the channel]”, mentioned the Finnish politician, who is on a visit to Iran.

She mentioned that the Europeans consider the SPV a step-one mechanism which should be studied in a bid to get to know its functions. “It’s in the first phase, it's like an experiment for us as well so we have to have a learning case and educate other companies on how to use it”, cautioned the European parliament’s representative.

EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, said on Monday that the SPV is in its final stage and will be ready before the year’s end. “I would expect this instrument to be established in the coming weeks so before the end of the year as a way to protect and promote legitimate business with Iran,” she said.

The European Union wants the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to help preserve the economic benefits for Iran deriving from the curbs it placed on its nuclear program under a 2015 deal with world powers, from which President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in May.

Cronberg, who is also an Associate Fellow on Europe’s Security Program at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and has deeply studied the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as JCPOA, says the US withdrawal from the accord in May and restoration of sanctions on Tehran have put Europe and the US at loggerheads. “It’s different now. Europe was not okay with ditching the agreement and that’s why we have stayed in it so far”, said. 

Shafei, who chair’s Iran’s private sector body, lashed out at the US sanctions and lamented that they directly affect ordinary Iranians although the humanitarian products like food and medicine must be exempted. “Are people’s lives important or not?”, he asked rhetorically. “If the answer is yes, then why can’t we import airplanes’ spare parts?” he continued. “Pharmaceutical companies are facing a shortage of raw material for medicine. We are facing huge problems in providing the necessary animal food as well”, said the ICCIMA president.

He also criticised Donald Trump administration for targeting individual Finnish companies, actively in trade with Iran, to cut their economic cooperation. “We know the US Treasury Department has been actively calling on Finnish companies to abort trade with Iran. But, there are uncompleted oil and gas projects worth 200 billion dollars which can be realised jointly with Finland”.

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