French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced on Thursday that France has, with the participation of the United Kingdom and Germany, registered a special tool for trade with Iran called INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges).
"INSTEX will support legitimate European trade with Iran, focusing initially on the sectors most essential to the Iranian population — such as pharmaceutical, medical devices and agri-food goods", the foreign ministers of the UK, France and Germany said in a joint statement.
Foreign Minister @HeikoMaas and his British & French colleagues on the creation of the #SPV: #INSTEX will support European trade with Iran. Focus is initially on goods essential to the Iranian population: pharmaceutical, medical devices and agri-food goods.#JCPoA https://t.co/SqejDOSXkU— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) 31 января 2019 г.
According to the official statement, the trade vehicle is set to cover third countries seeking to trade with Tehran.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi described the vehicle as "the first step within the set of commitments the Europeans have made to Iran", but said that to be of any value, it must allow trading of sanctioned goods.
Commenting on the news, Russia's Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said that Moscow will actively cooperate with European countries to ensure the successful implementation of the trade mechanism with Iran. He went on to note that by creating this tool, the EU states had confirmed their intent to counter US actions aimed at derailing the Iran nuclear deal.
The revelation comes as the German broadcaster NDR, Germany, the UK, and France are ready to establish the European Channel for transactions with Iran.
Prior to that, spokeswoman for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Maja Kocijancic announced that the work aimed at the creation of the special purpose vehicle (SPV) had already entered its final stage. On 28 January, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the mechanism had not been registered yet.
The second package of US sanctions targeting, in particular, Iran's oil sector took effect on 5 November.
Despite Washington's unilateral move, the other parties to the deal — China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, the United Kingdom and the European Union — have expressed their commitment to the JCPOA.