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Iranian regime officials are eyeing European financial vehicle with deepening skepticism

European financial channel
European financial channel

Iran, March 14, 2019 - A European financial channel aimed at enabling the Iranian regime to circumvent U.S. sanctions, dubbed INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges), is still a flashpoint of controversy in Iran. There isn’t a day where opposing political factions don’t call each other names like “traitor” and “saboteur” trying to sweep them from the political field.

Meanwhile, Europe’s condition to implement INSTEX only after the Iranian regime has ratified the necessary legislative bills to conform to Financial Action Task Force’s transparency standards has only enflamed the current situation.

Khabar online website quotes Majid Tafrashi an Iranian pundit who has studied INSTEX and writes: “Anyway, the U.S. has left the JCPOA and has put sanctions and severe punishments on big companies who want to work with Iran. All of the world’s big companies have wide financial and trade relations with the U.S. and the U.S. is a stakeholder in some of them, therefore it is reasonable that they won’t want to leave the 90 percent and stick with Iran’s 10 percent. Therefore, INSTEX has no utility in Iran’s exchanges with big companies.”

State-run Hemayat online newspaper, which belongs to the Iranian regime’s Judiciary, also writes: “If the JCPOA and its rear guard, meaning INSTEX, were good for the country we would have seen the results! Just like the nuclear deal, INSTEX also won’t solve a problem for the country and we should watch out that it doesn’t put conditions on political and economic relations.”

Yesterday, in a meeting with the community of Islamic engineers, Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, member of the Expediency Discernment Council, where the fate of the FATF bills is currently under review, acknowledged the crisis around approving the Palermo and CFT bills and said: “Decisions about this are very delicate. It’s not like there is a choice between good and evil, but we should rather say that we are choosing the lesser of two evils.”

Mohsen Jalilvand, who Iranian state-run media represent as a professor of international law, poured cold water on INSTEX hopefuls and said: “Even if INSTEX is implemented, you shouldn’t expect anything special from it. Because, first, INSTEX is meant to trade oil with food, medicaments and agricultural and medical equipment. Second, how much trade relations does Iran have with the European Union so that his relation makes you say that with INSTEX, Europe has put itself in front the U.S. in favor of Iran? In the final analysis, Europe is under the umbrella of the U.S.”

“So, it isn’t like if INSTEX is implemented the country’s situation will become okay,” he added.

In a radio interview, Iran’s former representative in the International Monetary Fund, Mohammad Qavam, described INSTEX as bait and said: “While Europe still hasn’t given us INSTEX and just introduced it to us… Mohammad Javad Zarif [Iran’s foreign minister] himself has said that we don’t know the function of INSTEX and how it’ll work.”

“It seems like this issue is a bait, so they tell us again to accept FATF. Generally, Europe and the U.S. want to grill us like fish in a cooking pan by encouraging and coercing the Islamic Republic to accept FATF,” he concluded.

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