A mechanism to facilitate EU trade with Iran despite U.S. sanctions was announced on Thursday by its three sponsors, France, Germany and the United Kingdom (E3), at a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Bucharest, Romania. The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (Instex) is a “Special Purpose Vehicle aimed at facilitating legitimate trade between European Union economic operators and Iran,” the E3 Foreign Ministers said in a joint statement. It will focus “initially on the sectors most essential to the Iranian population – such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices and agri-food products.”
“Instex aims in the long term to be open to economic operators from third countries who wish to trade with Iran, and the E3 will continue to explore how to achieve this objective,” added to the three countries, which are also the EU States that co-signed the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran.
The other signatories were China, Russia and the United States, but U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord and imposed new sanctions on Iran.
Washington has warned the Europeans against the consequences of their decision to bypass the sanctions against Iran.
While it is an inter-governmental creation, Instex will be endorsed by the EU within the framework of the Conclusions on Iran approved on Wednesday by the representatives of the 28 in Brussels, in which they welcomed the respect by Iran of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear treaty.