News ID: 231838
Published: 0103 GMT September 26, 2018

EU to set up legal entity to maintain Iran trade

EU to set up legal entity to maintain Iran trade

International Desk

The five remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal agreed to set up a special payment system to allow oil companies and businesses to continue trading with Iran in a bid to evade sanctions after the US withdrew from the landmark agreement.

The European Union and Iran announced the plan after high-level talks at the United Nations among the remaining members of the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, speaking at the UN alongside Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the countries were still working out the technical details.

"In practical terms, this will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with European Union law and could be open to other partners in the world," she told reporters.

She said that the remaining members of the JCPOA – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – would also maintain their commitments to support Iran on civilian nuclear energy.

"The participants recalled that these initiatives are aimed at preserving the JCPOA, which is in the international interest," she said.

The countries said in the statement that they were determined "to protect the freedom of their economic operators to pursue legitimate business with Iran."

With the United States and the dollar dominating so much of global trade, the statement said the new mechanism would "facilitate payments related to Iran's exports (including oil) and imports, which will assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran."

“The participants reaffirmed their strong will to support further work aimed at the operationalization of such a Special Purpose Vehicle as well as continued engagement with regional and international partners,” it added.

The statement said that the participants also “welcomed the fact that updates to the EU’s “Blocking Statute” and the European Investment Bank’s external lending mandate to make Iran eligible entered into force on August 7.”

In line with findings of UN inspectors, Mogherini reiterated that Iran has been in compliance with the nuclear agreement – under which Tehran drastically scaled back its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions.

The agreement was sealed in a signature achievement for then US president Barack Obama.

US President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement in May, describing it as a "disaster" and quickly moving to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

Despite the protests of the European Union, a number of business including French energy giant Total and carmakers Peugeot and Renault as well as Germany's Siemens and Daimler have already suspended operations in Iran for fear of triggering US sanctions.

With Iran's economy already feeling the pinch, US national security adviser John Bolton earlier Monday vowed to impose "maximum pressure" on Tehran, while insisting that Washington was not pushing for regime change.

AFP and Press TV contributed to this story.


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