Economy, Business And Markets

France, Germany, UK Agree on Non-Dollar Trade With Iran

Sergey LavrovSergey Lavrov

Major European countries party to nuclear negotiations with Iran, such as France, Germany and the UK, have agreed to maintain trade with Tehran independent of the US dollar, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

According to Lavrov, the decision concerns small- and medium-sized companies. He explained that participants in the Iranian deal have agreed to work out measures to protect the countries’ businesses from US sanctions, RT reported on Monday.

“Everyone agrees that this [US sanctions] is an absolutely illegal and unacceptable policy but, of course, this can hardly be changed and there will be enough struggle in trade, economic and political spheres,” he said.

Last week, EU lawmakers gave approval for the European Investment Bank to do business in Iran to save the 2015 nuclear deal. The US withdrew from the deal on May 8. US sanctions will snap back in two parts, with a first round returning in August and with the harshest sanctions returning in early November.

Earlier on Friday, Lavrov said other parties to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal had agreed to work out ways of trading with Iran independently of the US “whim”.

Lavrov said new ways of trading with Iran would be needed if Washington restores sanctions against Tehran, according to Interfax as reported by Reuters.

On Friday, the foreign ministers of Iran, Russia, China, Germany and France, as well as the UK minister of state for the Middle East and the EU high representative for foreign and security policy, held a joint meeting in Vienna, Austria, to discuss the future of Iran nuclear deal (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), after the unilateral US withdrawal from it.

A joint statement by the ministers in Vienna confirmed the need to continue the full and effective implementation of JCPOA. The participants also expressed their intention to support economic entities, in particular, small- and medium-sized enterprises trading with Iran, and to protect their commercial and financial activities in the country.

The statement also recalled that the European Union was currently in the midst of amending its Blocking Statute, which protected EU firms from the application of sanctions by a third country, to exempt the European companies from complying with US sanctions against Iran.

Countries that remain committed to the nuclear deal on Iran—Russia, China, Germany, France and the UK—agreed to establish a permanent expert mechanism that will be tasked with finding ways to maintain trade with Iran, regardless of US sanctions, Lavrov told reporters in Vienna.

“We agreed, though it was not easy given that the European troika, Russia and Iran often have very different interests, that the permanent mechanism of the joint commission at the level of experts will work on a regular basis to review options that will allow keeping all the obligations under the JCPOA despite the US decision, and maintaining trade and economic ties with Iran … independently from the US,” he said.


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