UK, France and Germany Send Aid to Iran

April 2, 2020
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The E3 sent humanitarian aid worth US $548,000 to Iran.

Thursday, 2 April 2020 | What happened: The UK, Germany and France, known as the E3, sent their first shipment of humanitarian aid to Iran yesterday using the INSTEX trade mechanism created in 2019 to bypass US sanctions.

  • A statement by the UK Foreign Office said: “France, Germany and the United Kingdom (the E3) confirm that INSTEX has successfully concluded its first transaction, facilitating the export of medical goods from Europe to Iran. These goods are now in Iran.”
  • It added: “INSTEX aims to provide a sustainable, long-term solution for legitimate trade between Europe and Iran as part of the continued efforts to preserve the JCPOA. Now the first transaction is complete, INSTEX and its Iranian counterpart STFI will work on more transactions and enhancing the mechanism.”
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, the transaction was worth US $548,000.
  • Germany also said that the mechanism would allow other transactions to proceed in the future. In late 2019, six other European countries—Finland, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden—joined INSTEX and said that they “attach the utmost importance to the preservation and full implementation of the JCPOA [Iran nuclear deal] by all parties involved.”
  • Despite being drawn up as a means to offset the economic burden on Iran resulting from US sanctions, the Trump administration did not object to the first shipment. A US State Department spokesperson said: “The US has no issues with humanitarian trade so long as it is conducted with strong due diligence measures to prevent the Iranian regime from hijacking the aid for itself.”
  • Due to a decision last month by the US to reverse its sanctions guidelines to allow for medical and agricultural trade via Iran’s Central Bank, yesterday’s shipment did not violate US sanctions.

Context:

  • Since last summer, Iran has started to violate the restrictions in the nuclear deal in response to US sanctions. The tactic underlined the diverging EU and US strategies for dealing with Iran.
  • Iran is suffering from the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East. The death toll climbed to 2,898 on March 31, with more than 44,000 confirmed cases, Iran’s Health Ministry said.

Looking ahead: The first INSTEX shipment of medical supplies comes at a crucial time for Iran. But in the long term, it remains highly unlikely that INSTEX will lead to increased trade with European firms who are still deterred by extensive US sanctions.

  • Despite the E3 move to supply aid, the UK, France and Germany have expressed their opposition to Iranian violations of the JCPOA nuclear deal and urged Iran to move back into compliance after triggering the dispute mechanism within the deal.

Posted on April 2, 2020

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by BICOM on April 1, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

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