Six European countries have joined the European payment mechanism which seeks to bypass U.S. sanctions against Iran. “Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden are in the process of becoming shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (Instex),” the Government of Norway said in a statement on Friday.

The Instex (short for “Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges), backed by Germany, France, and the United Kingdom—the three European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, is based on barter transactions which do away with the incriminating money trail and thus shields the European state and private players who are filtering support to Tehran despite U.S. sanctions. According to Germany’s state-owned DW News, Instex “works as a barter arrangement operating outside of the US-dominated global financial system.” The mechanism “acts as a sort of euro-denominated clearing house for Iran to conduct trade with European companies,” the broadcaster explains.

A statement issued by the Norwegian government confirmed the entry of new members to the trading mechanism:

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden attach the utmost importance to the preservation and full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) on Iran’s nuclear programme by all parties involved. The nuclear agreement was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council and is a key instrument for the global non-proliferation regime and a major contribution to stability in the region.

In light of the continuous European support for the agreement and the ongoing efforts to implement the economic part of it and to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran, we are now in the process of becoming shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (Instex) subject to completion of national procedures. Instex was established by France, Germany and the United Kingdom in January 2019.

In this context, it is crucial for the Islamic Republic of Iran to return without delay to full compliance with the terms and provisions of the nuclear agreement.

Germany, France, and the United Kingdom “welcomed” the expansion of the Iran payment system.

Europe rewards Tehran financially at a time when the regime is conducting a deadly crackdown against civilians, gunning down hundreds of unarmed protesters in the past two weeks. The nationwide uprising, which began on November 15 after the regime rationed gasoline and hiked fuel prices sharply, is seen as a success for President Donald Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran.

European powers have been trying to save the Shi’a Islamic regime from the brink of economic bankruptcy. French President Emmanuel Macron offered $15 billion in credit to Tehran. The expansion of the Iran trading mechanism will bolster the fledgling regime.

Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Saturday lauding the move:

As founding shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), France, Germany and the United Kingdom warmly welcome the decision taken by the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, to join INSTEX as shareholders. This step further strengthens INSTEX and demonstrates European efforts to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran and is a clear expression of our continuing commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, slammed the Norwegian envoy to Iran Lars Nordrum on Friday for praising the rogue payment system. “Terrible timing – why fund the Iranian regime while it’s killing the Iranian people and shutting off the Internet?” Ambassador Grenell tweeted on Friday. “You should be standing for human rights not funding the abusers.”

Washington seems committed to countering the European payment system, which it sees as a mechanism for money laundering. The money flowing to Iran under the mechanism will inadvertently go towards funding international terrorism, President Donald Trump’s administration maintains.

Tehran remains the world’s biggest sponsor and exporter of Islamic terrorism, the recent data compiled by the U.S. State Department confirms. The regime funnels around $1 billion dollars each year to “support terrorist groups that serve as its proxies and expand its malign influence across the globe,” the State Department’s “Country Report on Terrorism” release last month disclosed. If the European payment mechanism rakes in revenue, it will be directly funding terrorist outfits like Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated terror group, which profits from the country’s oil, banking, and other sectors of economy.

Trump Administration ramps up sanctions against Iranian regime’s banking system 

[Cover image via YouTube]

 
 
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