German diplomat Michael Bock appointed new INSTEX president

Ambassador Michael Bock has been appointed president of the mechanism designed to settle trade between Iran and Europe, officially known as Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX).

7 September 2019
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Ambassador Michael Bock has been appointed president of the mechanism designed to settle trade between Iran and Europe, officially known as Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX).

New INSTEX President Michael Bock. DER SPIEGEL

Another German diplomat has been appointed president of the trade mechanism designed to settle trade between Iran and Europe, officially known as Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX), Financial Tribune reports. 

INSTEX will be headed by former Ambassador Michael Bock following the German’s Foreign Ministry negotiations with other European partners, Der Spiegel magazine reported Thursday.

He took office after his compatriot, Bernd Erbel, also a former diplomat who served as German ambassador to Tehran, had resigned from his post in early August.

Apparently, he was forced to resign following revelations in the German daily Bild of a YouTube interview in which he voiced sympathy for Iran along with pointed criticism of Israel.

The foreign ministry in Berlin announced at that time “Mr. Erbel has informed the foreign ministry that he will not be available for personal reasons.”

A specialist in international law, Bock, 66, was former German ambassador to Colombia, Egypt and Sweden. He came to the German Foreign Office in 1983 as connoisseur of the Middle East.

Since inception in last January, EU-Iran trade mechanism has been led by three presidents, all German nationals.

INSTEX was set up as part of a broader effort by Germany, France and Britain — the so-called E3 — to preserve the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran after the US abandoned the deal last year.

The Paris-based organization aims to enable companies in Iran and Europe maintain trade flows in defiance of the US threat of sanctions, by offering a payments channel that is not subject to US penalties.

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