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Iran Top Official Criticizes European 'Delays' On Trade Mechanism

Head of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Kamal Kharrazi, poses in Madrid, June 21, 2018. File photo

The head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign relations Kamal Kharrazi has criticized the delay in launching a special mechanism promised by Europe to facilitate trade with Iran, in the wake of U.S. sanctions reimposition.

To help preserve the 2015 nuclear deal after the U.S. withdrawal in May 2018, Europe came up with the idea of establishing a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to help Iran trade with the continent despite U.S. sanctions affecting trade, investments and banking.

According to ISNA, Kharrazi said on January 19 that “repeated delays by EU” in launching the SPV “is not acceptable”.

Iran’s economy is facing a deep crisis as sanctions have reportedly halved Iran’s oil exports and the government and the people face a cash crunch. Multiple protests in 2018 have created the ever-present danger of mass unrest.

European officials had expressed hope that the SPV could become operational by the end of 2018, but recently Europe has been reluctant to make any clear pledges.

Reuters reported January 18 that European countries are becoming increasingly upset with Iran’s continued missile tests and evidence of Iranian undercover operations to assassinate opponents on European soil.

After the U.S. pullout from the nuclear agreement Iran said that if it loses all economic gain from agreeing to deal, it will not have an incentive to continue abiding by its provisions.

U.S. has urged Europe not to make concessions to Iran, which would weaken the impact of the sanctions.