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Britain, France and Germany unveil mechanism for trade with Iran

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-02-01 09:37
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L), UK Secretary of State and Foreign Affairs Jeremy Hunt (C) and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (R) at the Romanian National Bank Headquarters, in Bucharest, Romania, Jan 31, 2019. [Photo/IC]

BRUSSELS - Britain, France and Germany announced on Thursday the creation of a new mechanism for facilitating trade with Iran in order to preserve the Iran nuclear deal.

Foreign ministers of the three European countries, known as E3, said in a joint statement that they have set up an Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges, or INSTEX, to 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 creation of INSTEX is a major first step taken by E3 countries today," said the statement, adding that "the operationalisation of INSTEX will follow a step-by-step approach."

But INSTEX is not yet operational, according to the statement, which also vowed the INSTEX will function under the highest international standards with regards to anti-money laundering, combating the financing of terrorism, as well as compliance with the European Union and United Nations sanctions.

INSTEX aims in the long term to be open to economic operators from third countries that wish to trade with Iran and the E3 would continue to explore how to achieve this objective, according to the statement, suggesting other countries in and out of Europe could take advantage of it.

It is a reflection of the E3's commitment and continued efforts to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is endorsed by UN Security Council resolution 2231.

The Iran nuclear deal was inked by Iran with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States under the Obama presidency. But the Trump administration later pulled the US out of the deal and imposed its sanctions on Iran.

Iran has been credited as fulfilling its part of the deal. Therefore, despite the quitting of the US, the other parties remain steadfast to uphold it.

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