Iran’s Ambassador to London attended a recent meeting where he discussed the use of Europe’s Instrument for Trade and Exchanges (INSTEX) to continue trade despite US sanctions. In the works since the US walked away from the JCPOA Iran Deal, the concept was created in January by Germany, France and the UK.
Iranian state media now says INSTEX is ready to conduct transactions. This comes after meetings in March and a delegation from Iran’s Foreign Ministry met with Europeans. In the UK, which is facing economic hurdles due to Brexit issues, the concept has been presented to UK-based businesses to explain how the transactions will work.
But capital investment on the Iranian side is paltry. A report on Radio Farda says that Iran only put $24,000 into its side of the mechanism, which is called the Special Trade and Finance Institute. Tehran appears to think that European countries haven’t done enough to stand up to US sanctions. This is in contrast to Iran’s regional partners such as Turkey that have openly condemned the US.
Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani says that Europe has let the Islamic republic down. Europe only supports us in rhetoric, he noted, but hasn’t done anything. He said that he has learned what many countries have learned when it comes to EU words versus actions. The EU often doesn’t work well as a group when it comes to enacting robust policies. While many European countries may claim to oppose US sanctions on Iran, they don’t know precisely how to deal with them and have other issues that are more pressing. Iran is still waiting for the results – it may not see them.