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European SPV: morale-boosting panacea or recipe for more inner fighting among the ruling Iranian mullahs?

Iranian regime officials are losing hope in a European payment mechanism that is supposed to help them circumvent U.S. sanctions
Iranian regime officials are losing hope in a European payment mechanism that is supposed to help them circumvent U.S. sanctions

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

 

Jan. 19, 2019 - Shortly after the current U.S. administration pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, the European Union announced its plans to set up a clearinghouse-like mechanism that allowed continuous trade with Iran by circumventing the resuming energy and banking sanctions.

At first, the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) functioned as an anti-dote to the gradually waning moral of the already battered base of the Islamic Republic. Four decades of hypocrisy, blatant corruption, and nepotism takes its toll.

On January 24, about three weeks after the deadline for creating the financial mechanism by the EU has passed, Bahram Ghassemi, the spokesperson for Hassan Rouhani’s foreign ministry, said in a press conference: “Europeans are interested in implementing the financial mechanism, but it has been impacted seriously under U.S. pressure. We have complaints about them, but we aren’t waiting for them and will follow our course firmly.”

When a reporter from a newspaper close to the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei asked him about Iranian officials’ repeated promises that the SPV will become operational, Ghassemi dodged the question and said: “Anyways, time increases one’s experience and I think that’s valuable and you can clear many ambiguous points in this process.”

When the reporter asked Ghassemi to answer specifically to his question, he said: “Look, you want to take me again to the bottomless pit where I give you a schedule and after ten days, 15 days [or] a month you ask me that Islamic Republic officials or the spokesperson for the foreign ministry said that date and it didn’t happen.”

On January 25, Iran’s deputy oil minister said to Mehr news agency: “Soon the financial mechanism will bear fruit.”

On the same day, Young Reporters Club quoted a Politico article saying that, “the SPV will probably launch in mid-January, around the third anniversary of the implementation of the nuclear deal.” The full Politico article describes that the SPV will probably only cover goods already exempt from sanctions, but the Iranian outlet didn’t find it useful enough to relay.

But despite continued efforts to boost morale with the promise of the SPV, fear and anxiety is already showing through the cracks.

Jahan-e Sanat newspaper, close to Rouhani’s so-called moderate faction, writes: “The Warsaw summit is an answer to Washington’s need to make Iran’s issue international by entering Europe’s differences and deepening them. Washington’s final goal is to obstruct Europe in the financial mechanism issue.”

But as time passes and while European officials gradually decrease Iranian expectations from the SPV, the panacea is starting to turn into a prescription for reopening old and nasty wounds of inner quarrels between the ruling Iranian factions.

 

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