News ID: 239865
Published: 0328 GMT March 06, 2019

Iran to set up its part of trade mechanism 'this month'

Iran to set up its part of trade mechanism 'this month'
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi (R) and the Secretary General of the European Union’s External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid talk as they take part in a meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), attended by the E3+2 (UK, France, Germany, Russia, China) and Iran at Palais Coburg in Vienna, Austria on Wednesday. AFP

Iran hopes to have its part of a new payments vehicle – devised to bypass US sanctions – ready within a fortnight, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Wednesday.

“We hope it will be before the end of the Iranian calendar year,” Araqchi told reporters in Vienna, referring to March 20 when the Iranian year ends.

Araqchi was in the Austrian capital for a “joint commission” with representatives from China, Russia, Britain and France – all signatories of the international deal on Iran’s nuclear program.

This is the first meeting between Iran and the remaining partners to the deal since the establishment of the European trade mechanism.

The new payments vehicle, known as INSTEX, is seen as key to European Union efforts to preserve the deal struck in 2015 between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The US was also initially a signatory, but last May US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and in November reinstated sweeping sanctions on Iran.

Araqchi said there was “very strong support” for the deal from all participants at the meeting.

He said the director of INSTEX was due to visit Tehran “very soon in order to have closed discussions” with his Iranian counterparts.

“An Iranian mirror structure is going to be established very soon and these two structures will work with each other,” he added.

“This mechanism is in its early stages and we are still unsure how it is going to work and prove helpful. Therefore, we need to have expert discussions about it,” Araqchi pointed out.

The US has criticized the trade mechanism and demanded that the EU withdraw from the nuclear agreement.

According to a document by the French Economy and Finance Ministry, INSTEX will initially focus on trade with medicine and food – products that are not affected by US sanctions.

AP and EPA contributed to this story.



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