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Iran: New Realities and New Challenges

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It is still less than a year since the European Union gave birth to, in Pushkin’s words, “neither son nor daughter, frog nor mouse, but a creature none had seen before”. The “creature” we are referring to is the long–awaited financial mechanism for trade with Iran, which bears the name of INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges). France, Germany and Great Britain have finally announced the joint creation of this instrument, which enables them to comply with their obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal concluded with Iran (officially referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPA). The aim of this document is to authorise trade between Iran and European entities, despite the sanctions imposed by the USA following its withdrawal from the nuclear deal last year.

Now that we have had the chance to carefully review and analyse the new, much–anticipated document, we are left in some doubt as to its real purpose: is it meant to benefit Iran, or the USA? Teheran, no doubt, has a natural (and quite realistic) expectation that this mechanism will be put into effect as soon as possible, especially considering the European Union’s less than adequate efforts and its delays in drawing up the document. As set out and agreed in the Declaration signed by the Iranian Foreign Minister and the governments of the above three European countries last May, the mechanism should cover other areas of trade between Iran and the European nations.

For Teheran the economic aspects of the JCPA, and the way it is performed, are of great importance, and the Iranians will, no doubt, observe the way the European parties approach the performance of their obligations and draw the appropriate conclusions, which will affect and serve as a foundation for the development of future relations between Iran and Europe. It is completely unacceptable to seek to make the implementation of that mechanism (which Teheran sees as an obligation under the JCPA) conditional on compliance with a variety of other demands.

Right from the beginning, European leaders’ conduct has been........

© New Eastern Outlook