The European Union will establish a mechanism to facilitate non-dollar transactions with Iran in the near future in an attempt to circumvent sanctions imposed by the United States against Tehran, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says.
“I will expect this instrument to be established in the coming weeks before the end of the year as a way to protect and promote legitimate business,” Mogherini told reporters in Brussels on Monday.
The top EU diplomat did not offer any other details following a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Brussels, but said work on creating the mechanism was “advancing well.”
US President Donald Trump withdrew his country in May from the landmark Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and decided to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.
Under the deal, reached between Iran and six major powers — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — Tehran agreed to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.
The Trump administration announced early in November the re-imposition of the “toughest” sanctions ever against Iran’s banking and energy sectors with the aim of cutting off the country’s oil sales and crucial exports.
A first round of American sanctions took effect in August, targeting Iran’s access to the US dollar, metals trading, coal, industrial software, and auto sector.
The US administration hoped to get the other parties to the deal with Iran to likewise scrap the deal, but instead, they stressed that not only would they stick to the agreement, but they would also work to sustain it in the face of increased US pressure.
Iran and the 28-nation bloc have been discussing various ways to continue doing business with Iran and bypass US sanctions.
On September 24, Iran and its five partners released a joint statement announcing the setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to facilitate continued trade with Iran, bypass the US financial system, and avoid any impact of America’s secondary sanctions.
Late in November, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi warned that Tehran’s patience is running out over the failure of the European Union’s economic pledges to deliver any “tangible results.”
Iran’s nuclear chief warns the European Union that Tehran’s patience is running out on the bloc’s lack of delivery on its economic pledges.
He said the EU’s efforts were encouraging but added: “We have not yet seen any tangible results.”
“So, they [Europeans] are promising us that they are doing their best to be able to translate all that they have said in political terms and to turn it into realization, in other words, to materialize what they have said,” Salehi said.
Despite Washington’s withdrawal, Iran has not left the landmark nuclear deal yet, but stressed that the remaining signatories to the agreement have to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they wanted Tehran to remain in it.
The other parties to the JCPOA have repeatedly announced that the deal is working and should stay in place.