“You have to ask the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK. Our work continues, their work continues and we support it,” she said in response to a question as to when the SPV is going to be ready.
She made the remarks ahead of the European foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Monday, Tasnim News Agency reported.
“The involvement of the Finance Ministers of the E3 (France, Germany, UK) is of key importance at this stage. They are working hard to finalize it. I cannot tell you a date, but I can tell you that work is continuing and is progressing in a positive manner.”
“And again, as I said, the involvement of the Finance Ministers of these three Member States, but also of other member states is, I think, a crucial step that makes me think that it will be delivered sooner rather than later,” Mogherini said.
EU countries led by France, Germany and Britain — signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — want to enable non-US trade with Iran to continue in defiance of Washington.
The EU has devised the SPV, a financial mechanism, to continue trade with Iran and neutralize the US sanctions against Tehran.
A tweet by a Wall Street Journal reporter suggested that EU's Helga Schmid and German, British and French politicians were set to meet ahead of the European foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Monday to discuss Iran and the European financial mechanism of SPV.
“Tomorrow morning, before EU foreign ministers meet, @HelgaSchmid_EU will talk #Iran #SPV with E3 political directors,” Laurence Norman said on his Twitter account on Monday, referring to the expected meeting between Secretary General of the European External Action Service and politicians from the E3 countries.
“Not being led to expect a solution on #SPV yet but they will be trying,” Norman further wrote.
Meanwhile, Iran’s deputy Oil Minister Amirhossein Zamaninia said “France might host the SPV”, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Monday.
The French Foreign Ministry declined to comment. The Finance Ministry has said that all options are on the table for the SPV and that no decisions had been taken.
The SPV is a kind of clearing house that could be used to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods in an effective barter arrangement circumventing US sanctions, based on global use of the dollar for oil sales.
The goal was to have the SPV legally in place by this month though not operational until next year, but no country has offered to host it, six diplomats told Reuters last week.
The SPV is seen as the lynchpin of European efforts to salvage the nuclear accord, from which US President Donald Trump — who took office after the pact was clinched — withdrew in May, calling it flawed in Iran’s favor.
Trump’s decision to drop out of an international nuclear deal between Iran and six great powers to pursue “maximum pressure” has widened a rift between the US and its European allies.
The other nations that joined the accord — France, Germany, the UK, Russia and China — all have vowed to stand by the agreement, which traded restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program for sanctions relief.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly said Iran is continuing to abide by limits on its nuclear program it agreed to under the July 2015 deal.