German newspaper Die Tageszeitung: “The first payments are under way” to Iran as part of the EU’s new trading mechanism.
As Iran breaches the limit on its enriched uranium stockpile set under the 2015 nuclear deal, European powers scramble to appease the regime.
The European Union has started processing payments to Iran under a new trading mechanism, German media reports confirmed. While French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to rush to Tehran in an attempt to coax the regime into the Obama-era deal.
The United Kingdom, Germany, and France will issue a joint statement today underlining their approach in light of the latest Iranian breach, British newspaper The Guardian reported.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s administration continues to pursue its policy of keeping maximum pressure on Iran. “No message to Iran. They know what they’re doing. They know what they’re playing with, and I think they’re playing with fire,” President Trump told reporters when asked if he had a message for the Mullah’s in Tehran.
“The Trump Administration calls on the international community to restore the longstanding nonproliferation standard of no enrichment for Iran’s nuclear program,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “[N]o nuclear deal should ever allow the Iranian regime to enrich uranium at any level.”
While Pompeo sought allied support, the European Union hussled to the aid of the Iranian regime. Brussels, backed by Germany, the UK, and France, rewarded Tehran’s belligerence by launching a new trade mechanism to protect the EU’s Iran trade from the U.S. sanctions.
“The first payments are under way,” German newspaper Die Tageszeitung reported Monday.
“EU mechanism for trade with Iran ‘now operational,'” German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle confirmed. “The move is an attempt by EU countries to show they are serious about alleviating the pain of sanctions on Iran in order to convince Tehran to remain in the 2015 … Iran nuclear deal.”
Deutsche Welle explained the workings of the EU-Iran trading mechanism:
The new EU mechanism will coordinate import and export payments so that cash between partners need not be handled by banks, thus avoiding the risk of drawing Washington’s ire.
INSTEX will create a virtual ledger to offset balances. Thus payments will be exchanged between EU companies importing and exporting to Iran, and the same will happen on the Iranian side. Thus, all sides will be able to complete transactions without euros going to Iran, or rials to Europe.
“France, Germany, and the United Kingdom informed participants that INSTEX had been made operational and available to all EU member states, and that the first transactions are being processed,” the EU declared in a statement.
In the past, the U.S. Treasury Department has condemned the EU payment mechanism, which seeks to boost the Iranian oil trade largely controlled by regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as a tool for money laundering and terrorism financing.
Iran could further escalate nuclear tension to extract more economic concessions from the EU. “Further breaches could follow as Tehran seeks help in increasing trade with Europe,” British newspaper The Guardian reported. Iran’s breach of the nuclear accord “will put pressure on Europe to do more to help mitigate the effect of crippling US sanctions,” the newspaper added.
The Guardian detailed the new measures taken by the European leaders to placate Tehran in the wake of nuclear breach:
Monday’s move reflects Tehran’s exasperation that EU states have been unable to do more to counterbalance the effect of US sanctions.
The UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said he was “very worried” by the Iranian move, but he did not refer to any plan to activate the deal’s formal dispute resolution mechanism, a staged process that could end with EU sanctions being reimposed in as little as 65 days. He said in a tweet that the UK “remains committed to making [the] deal work and using all diplomatic tools to de-escalate regional tensions”.
A joint statement from the EU signatories to the deal – France, Germany and the UK – is likely within 48 hours.
European leaders had urged Iran not to breach the deal, but the focus may now be on dissuading Iran from taking further, more serious steps away from the terms.
One proposal is for the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to travel to Tehran, but there are also plans for a joint commission meeting at foreign minister level bringing together Iran and the other remaining signatories – Russia, China and the EU three.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the European leaders to impose sanctions on the regime as it races towards a nuclear weapon. “On this day I also call on all European countries to stand behind their commitments. You committed to act the moment Iran violates the nuclear agreement, you committed to activate the mechanism for automatic sanctions that was set in the (UN) Security Council,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
“I say again that Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons,” added Netanyahu.
Since Iran sighed the nuclear deal almost four years ago, the European countries are fully aware of the regime’s attempts to expand its nuclear weapons program in direct violation of the accord. German Intelligence services have repeatedly uncovered Iran’s efforts to acquire Western technology and components to build up its nuclear weapons capabilities.
Despite the lucrative Obama-era nuclear deal, which gave Iran access to billions of dollars in frozen funds and a fresh infusion of Western investment, the regime has kept up the campaign of terrorism and espionage against the European countries.
Germany, France, and the UK have chosen to ignore their intelligence to keep the fiction of Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal intact. Instead of penalizing Iran as it rushes towards a nuclear weapon, the leading European powers are throwing an economic lifeline to the regime. Watching Germany leading the European effort to appease the Islamic tyrants in Tehran, shows how little Europe has learned from its recent past.
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