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Iranian regime officials not optimistic about European payment channel

Iranian regime deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi
Iranian regime deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi

Analysis by PMOI/MEK


Feb. 1, 2019 - The January 28 meeting of the European Council of Ministers about the Iranian regime's regional meddling, its ballistic missile program, and the much-promised European financial mechanism to help Tehran circumvent U.S. sanctions, showed if anything, the increasing isolation of the Iranian regime, and took the inter-factional quarrels and fights between the Iranian ruling elite to a new level.

On January 29, Iranian state-run television complained: "According to media sources, after several months of Europe's delay and time wasting, European Union's Special Purpose Vehicle, also known as SPV, was supposed to be registered on Monday, but even a meeting of one of EU's councils didn't happen."

After a meeting with Austria's foreign minister, Iranian political deputy for the foreign minister Abbas Araghchi, who had travelled to Europe to speed up the SPV said: "Since more than eight months, the Europeans are supposed to do this and after eight months we learn that there are many technical and legal hurdles. We learn that the U.S. has threatened to sanction any party that uses this European financial mechanism. We learn that it needs to be designed in a way that avoids U.S. pressures and sanctions, so that companies who use it aren't sanctioned, but anyway, eight months is also a long time."

Araghchi also conveyed the delicate situation of the Iranian regime to foreign parties.

"In a meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency's secretary general, the deputy foreign minister said that considering the current situation, Iran's interest in the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) has been substantially damaged," reported Iranian state-run television.

Seeing the opportunity ripe to undermine the competition, the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader's faction tried to blame Rouhani's faction for all the defeats resulting from the JCPOA.

"The SPV is Europe's cold check in return of JCPOA's bounced check. Instead of wishful thinking regarding Europe's cold SPV check and fearmongering and false promises regarding the FATF, officials should learn their lessons from JCPOA's cold check and change the passive and damaging approach of ‘implementing the JCPOA at any cost,’" wrote Khamenei's Keyhan newspaper on January 29.

"France is supposed to host the SPV, while France has been hosting the [PMOI/MEK] since many years," Keyhan further complains.

The concepts of human rights, separation of powers, and allowing a dictatorship's opposition to live and work in another sovereign country while they abide to the local legal frameworks, are admittedly alien phenomena to the Iranian mullahs and hard to grasp.

On January 29, Vatan-e Emrouz, another outlet close to Khamenei's faction, also published an article titled, "Sanctions in the hand in exchange for [financial] mechanism in the bush," and wrote: "European authorities have shown that in order to achieve their interests on the global stage, they are ready to commit any trade (even tactical trades) with the White House. This issue was shown clearly at the beginning of 2017, when the European Troika, while aware of the illegality of its action to 'change the provisions of the nuclear deal', made an agreement with 'Donald Trump's administration' about it and accepted the four requests of Trump about inserting 'Iran's missile capabilities in the JCPOA, containing our country's capabilities in the regions, unlimited inspections of military sites and sanctions of Iran's nuclear program without time limit.'"

As Abbas Araghchi clearly stated, the Iranian regime is desperate after eight months.

Iranian authorities were not disillusioned about the reach of the SPV from day one, but fact is that they hadn't much choice. The SPV was something that while giving the Iranian regime some sanction relief, would enable them to save face and boost the morale of an increasingly disillusioned and discontent base.