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EXCLUSIVE: EU Expected To Register SPV But Warn Iran On Regional Role, Missiles

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrives for a meeting of the foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, at the Europa building in Brussels, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. File photo

Informed sources at the European Union have told Radio Farda that EU will register its Special Purpose Vehicle on Monday January 28 to facilitate trade between Iran and European companies.

It is expected that the European Council will also approve “conclusions” regarding Iran related issues at the same time. The policy conclusions will express concern about Tehran's role in regional tensions, and its missile program, while continuing to express support for the nuclear deal with Iran, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), says an EC "draft conclusion".

Within EU frameworks, a "conclusion" includes a series of political positions about a certain matter as approved during talks at the European Council.

The conclusion, expected to be ratified on Monday, points out several matters in 10 articles, including support for the JCPOA, regret about the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions, and the official registration of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that would help Iran to continue trade with Europe; benefiting from its nuclear agreement with the West.

The SPV, which is one of EU's initiatives to preserve the JCPOA, is a "private entity" that would positively affect Iran's trade and economic relations with Europe as well as "leaving a constructive impact on the life of Iranian people," say EU members.

Meanwhile, based on a document reviewed by Radio Farda, EU members urge Iran to approve a series of laws related to financial regulations demanded by an international watchdog. The EU will ask for "progress on the necessary reforms” and will urge Iran “to adopt and implement the necessary legislation pursuant to its commitments under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan," adding that they are prepared to cooperate with Iran by offering continued technical support.

However, Iran's Expediency Discernment Council, the arbiter between parliament and the constitutional watchdog Guardian Council, which was expected to announce on Saturday its final ruling about the bills yet again postponed its decision.

The legislation in question will pave the way for Iran to join international conventions against money laundering and funding terrorism; a requirement by FATF.

In the meantime, EU members are concerned about some of Iran's behavior. According to the draft conclusion, the European Council is concerned about Iran's role in the escalation of regional tensions, pointing out its "serious concern" about Iran's role and military presence in Syria."

The conclusion expresses "grave concern" about Iran's ballistic missile activity and calls upon Iran "to refrain from these activities, in particular ballistic missile launches that are inconsistent with UN Security Council resolution 2231." The EC adds in its conclusion that such actions by Iran will "deepen mistrust and contribute to regional instability."

The conclusion also expresses "deep concern" about the "hostile activities that Iran has conducted on the territory of several Member States", as well as about the situation of human rights in Iran.

It is not clear how far there is agreement or mutual understanding with Washington on Europe's new steps toward Iran. The U.S. has been urging Europe and other allies to stand tough against the Islamic Republic.

The conclusion was to be approved last week, but it was postponed as the SVP mechanism was not in place yet.

On January 28, Brussels hosts a meeting of EU agriculture ministers and the conclusion is expected to be approved during the same meeting.