ECONOMY

Six European nations to join INSTEX in bid to bypass US sanctions against Iran

An Iranian flag flutters in front of the head office of the Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) in Tehran November 9, 2008. (Reuters)

Six European countries said on Saturday that they will be joining a European Union financial system to facilitate trade with Iran and bypass US sanctions against Tehran, days before President Donald Trump meets with leaders from those countries in London.

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden said in a joint statement that they would begin the process of joining the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a financial system which was established by Britain, France and Germany this past January.

The INSTEX plan was established in January by France, Britain, and Germany – key European countries who signed the nuclear deal with Iran in 2015 – to salvage the accord between Iran and major powers.

“In light of the continuous European support for the agreement and the ongoing efforts to implement the economic part of it and to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran, we are now in the process of becoming shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) subject to completion of national procedures,” a joint statement released by Finland’s Foreign Ministry read.

The decision by the six European countries comes just days before London is due to host NATO leaders including US President Donald Trump.

Trump last year withdrew the US from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran and is ratcheting up sanctions seeking to end Iran’s international sales of crude oil and strangle its economy.

Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, criticized the decision by the six European countries and questioned the timing of their announcement.

“Terrible timing – why fund the Iranian regime while its killing the Iranian people and shutting off the internet? You should be standing for human rights not funding the abusers,” Grenell tweeted.

(With Reuters)

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Last Update: Saturday, 30 November 2019 KSA 19:16 - GMT 16:16
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