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Khamenei Confidant Calls On Europe To Facilitate Iran's Oil Export, International Banking

Kamal Kharrazi, ex-foreign minister and Chairman of Iran's Strategic Council of Foreign Relations . File photo

A top aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei says EU has two months to prevent the demise of the nuclear deal with Iran by operationalizing the European financial channel INSTEX set up to help Iran.

Chairman of Iran's Strategic Council of Foreign Relations (SCFR) Kamal Kharrazi delivered the message while currently visiting France.

According to a post on SCFR's Twitter page on Saturday May 11, Kharrazi warned his host, Marielle de Sarnez, the chairperson of the French Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee that EU should make up for the slow pace of its past measures in making INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) up and running.

The establishment of INSTEX was announced on January 31, as a mechanism to facilitate trade with Iran in the face of U.S. sanctions.

Kharrazi said that Iranians are pessimistic about Europe as Europeans have failed to fulfil their obligations under the nuclear agreement with Iran.

According to the SCFR website, Ms. Sarnez at the meeting expressed concern over Iran's suspension of part of its obligations under the nuclear agreement, adding that she wants to know what Iran's demands are precisely.

Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also noted that Iran's statement on the suspension, which was issued on Wednesday, was "vague."

In the statement Iran gave 60 days to Europe to facilitate Iran's oil exports and international banking which are sanctioned by the United States. European powers later rejected any ultimatum by Iran.

Iran is calling on Europe to hasten its measures to make INSTEX operational while Tehran's failure to comply with international financial standards by June will bring enhanced scrutiny of European banks, and possibly punitive measures against Iran, which are now suspended.

But the three European powers want INISTEX to meet norms for legitimate financing set by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, even though Iran is not yet fully compliant with them, as it has repeatedly delayed adoption of laws demanded by FATF.

But, U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker has said this would be hard for the Iranian side of INSTEX, with much of Iran’s economy both opaque and connected to institutions under U.S. sanctions such as the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The SCFR is a body organized by Iran's Supreme Leader's Office. It lacks any official executive power, but operates in parallel with the Rouhani administration's Foreign Ministry.