Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Europe’s Iran Payment Mechanism Faces ‘Unforeseen Difficulties’

Political Director of the French Foreign Ministry Nicolas de Riviere says Paris, London, and Berlin are working to overcome ‘unforeseen difficulties’ that have hindered the implementation of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), the European payment mechanism aimed at facilitating trade with Iran.

De Riviere, who is in Tehran for a fresh round of political talks between Iran and France, made the remarks in a meeting with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi on Wednesday.

The French diplomat said the establishment of SPV is in its final stages, but unforeseen difficulties have arisen in the course of creating the mechanism.

However, the E3 countries – France, Germany, and the UK – are taking measures to overcome the difficulties and start the implementation of the SPV as soon as possible, he added.

During the meeting, the two sides conferred on the latest situation of the Iran nuclear deal and the commitment of Paris and other European parties to normalizing economic relations with Iran and offsetting the negative impacts of the US’ illegal sanctions.

They also talked about ways to expand bilateral relations and expressed their views on a number of security, regional, and international issues.

The two sides also reviewed the latest developments in other economic and business fields, and weighed in on measures being taken to minimize the impact of US sanctions.

The talks between Iran and the European side come as the US special envoy for Iran threatened last week European banks and firms with fresh sanctions in case of engaging in the SPV.

The SPV is an alternative payment mechanism that can help companies trade with Iran without facing US penalties.

Despite Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May and the re-imposition of its sanctions on Tehran in November, the three big European Union powers and the EU as a whole have reaffirmed their commitment to the JCPOA, as have Russia and China.

Iran has not left the landmark nuclear deal yet, but stressed that the remaining signatories to the agreement have to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they wanted Tehran to remain in it.

Iran and the European side have been discussing ways to conduct non-dollar trade in order to offset the US sanctions.

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