Iran says it is waiting to see how the EU will make up for its delays to establish a special payment mechanism which is meant to bypass US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Three European powers are set to announce plans to help companies trade with Iran under a mechanism known as the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) as early as Monday, Bloomberg reported.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday that Iran has never limited its options to the SPV, but is still interested to see how the European Union delivers on its pledges.
“Iran has never waited for Europe’s payment mechanism but we are eager to see how Europe makes up for the delay,” he told reporters during a press briefing in Tehran.
“We had better wait and see what the European side eventually unveils,” he said of the entity which is key to EU efforts to save a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran.
The European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal – the UK, France and Germany – pledged to establish the SPV after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement in May 2018.
Russia and China, the other signatories, have expressed strong commitment to the deal despite Washington’s pledge to re-impose the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
According to the report by Bloomberg, the three European powers were going to “make good” on their promise to secure trade with Iran in defiance of the US.
Citing a draft of an EU statement, the report said the bloc was going to unveil a three-nation initiative that would have “a positive impact on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of Iranian people.”
Two diplomats said the new initiative was designed to shield EU companies from the US sanctions and would be discussed in Brussels on Monday and released on the same day if all 28 member countries agreed.
In order to gather more support for its pressure campaign against Iran, the US has announced that it will co-host a summit with Poland in Warsaw next month.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has said that she will not attend the meeting. According to the Wall Street Journal, ministers from several European Union countries will also likely skip the event.
Qassemi said the conference is aimed at “sowing division” between Iran and European countries.
“We are monitoring this summit with pessimism,” he asserted, noting that the organizers had yet to invite Iran to the event.
Among other countries, Russia and Iraq have also announced their decision to snub the summit which Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has described as a “desperate anti-Iran circus.”