INSTEX shareholders considering dealing with Iran oil: Mogherini

The European trade channel with Iran is reaching its final stages as it’s processing several transactions and some European countries are thinking about buying Iranian oil to inject the revenues into the mechanism.

16 July 2019
ID : 22109
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The European Union says its trade mechanism with Iran, INSTEX, needs to become more operational, adding that stakeholders are considering using Iran oil sales revenues.

“We had unanimity among Member States on the need to, on the one side, make the instrument we have put in place – INSTEX (the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) - faster and more operational to have legitimate trade with Iran,” said EU’s High Representative for foreign policy Federical Mogherini following a Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday.

She added that a number of Member States have shown their willingness to become shareholders of this instrument and there is also the possibility for non-Member States to join.

Earlier, Netherlands, Spain, Finland and Russia said they’d like to joint the mechanism.

“INSTEX has always been conceived to be open to third countries. The Member States that have set it up with our support have always indicated that, first, we start with processing transactions coming from the Member States, and then it can be open for third countries. This is therefore not a decision that needed to be taken, it was already intended to be open to third countries and we are already seeing interest of some of them to participate in that,” she added.

Iran is demanding that Europe buy crude and use its revenues to run the channel. “The issue of whether or not INSTEX will deal with oil is a discussion that is ongoing among the shareholders,” she added.

“The shareholders of INSTEX are currently discussing whether the instrument can be used for that as well or not,” Mogherini mentioned.

According to Mogherini, the channel is processing the “first transactions”, warning that “it takes time because INSTEX as a mechanism has to be very careful about due diligence”.

INSTEX was created by France, Germany and the UK, the three European signatories to the nuclear deal, back in January, four months after Mogherini had announced Europe would create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) following the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and reimposition of unilateral sanctions.

Six months later, it hasn’t finalised any transaction so far.

“It is complicated. It has proven to be complicated. I can tell you that when I announced INSTEX in September last year in the margins of the UN General Assembly after a Joint Commission [meeting], we definitely expected this to be faster. So it was not only an Iranian expectation back then, but it was also our expectation that it would have gone faster than it has proven to be. But the issues at stake have been particularly complicated,” acknowledged Mogherini.

Iran has always criticised Europe for its inaction to stand up against the US. The EU’s representative says the union has done whatever it has been able to.

“So, on Iranian expectations: we are doing our best and we hope that this will be enough for Iranian public opinion and the Iranian authorities,” she stressed. 

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