The three key European countries in a unified effort are about to issue a statement to help their companies to trade with Iran despite the trade sanctions by USA. The move is expected to salvage the Iranian Nuclear Deal which prohibited Iran from making nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting of trade sanctions which brought Middle Eastern country’s economic activity to a standstill.
Two diplomats closely associated with the matter said that the final wording about the special purpose vehicle is under process and that the official announcement could come at any time. The mechanism is very important for EU as it was an important ally in the finalization of the 2015 nuclear deal along with the then US President Barak Obama’s John Kerry-led US state department. President Trump withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Iran which jeopardized gains from the year-long tedious negotiation process.
The draft EU-statement by France, UK and Germany wants to have a positive impact on trade with the Iranian partners to bring significant impact in the lives of Iranian people. The statement will be further discussed by all 28 members of the European Union and if approved will be released soon after.
The planned special purpose vehicle will theoretically allow companies to continue doing business with Iran by receiving payments either through waivers for oil imports or through trade in permissible goods like medicines and food. Though this vehicle, no actual transfer of funds will occur between EU actors and Iran which will insulate them from stringent US penalties.
After the Trump administrations withdrawal from the deal, the remaining powers including UK, Germany, France, China and Russia have struggled to keep their promises of the 2015 accord. Although, independent nuclear overseers including IAEA repeatedly ensured that Iran has completely destroyed its nuclear infrastructure, the trade sanctions relief promised in the 2015 accord were not delivered. European nations have faced criticism over the delays in persuading companies to trade with Iran.
This decision is in the backdrop of Ali Akbar Salehi, the country’s nuclear chief’s last week statement where he threatened the restart of the nuclear enrichment program of the country in case of the collapse of nuclear agreement. The Trump administration called the European move as a sabotage of the ‘’maximum pressure’’ tactic of the USA. Critics claim that the announcement if approved will be more of a political tokenism by EU than bringing any solid economic benefits to Iran.