Iran hopes trade channel skirting U.S. sanctions will work within weeks

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6 March 2019

Iran hopes a new trade channel with Europe aimed at cushioning the blow of reimposed U.S. sanctions will be working within weeks, its deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday, ONA reports citing Reuters.

France, Britain and Germany have set up the new mechanism for non-dollar trade with Iran in response to Washington’s withdrawal from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal that lifted international sanctions against the Islamic republic in exchange for restrictions on its atomic activities.

U.S. sanctions aimed at crippling Iran’s economy and oil industry have resumed, placing the deal in jeopardy, though Iran has continued to comply with the accord so far.

“We hope that in the coming weeks Instex would become operational,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters after a quarterly meeting of parties to the deal, referring to the mechanism’s official name - the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges.

For that to happen, Iran must set up a counterparty to Instex that it can trade with. Araqchi said he hoped that would be done before the Iranian new year, which is in two weeks.

Washington has accused European powers of undermining its crackdown on Tehran by trying to break the sanctions.

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