Macron Upbeat About Improved Iran Trade Through INSTEX

Macron Upbeat About Improved Iran Trade Through INSTEX
Macron Upbeat About Improved Iran Trade Through INSTEX

French President Emmanuel Macron described the operation of the European financial channel for transaction with Iran as positive, expressing hope that the mechanism will facilitate and increase Iran-Europe trade.
He made the statement in a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday, reported.  
The barter system known as INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) has been set up jointly by France, Germany and Britain to facilitate commerce between Iran and the European Union while the country's international trade is troubled by sanctions reimposed by the United States in 2018 after it unilaterally quit the 2015 nuclear deal. 
Although the mechanism was officially registered in January 2019, it conducted its first transaction only last week, whereby €500,000 ($539667.50) worth of medicine were sold by a private company in Germany to a firm in Iran. 
The initiative was part of the three European countries' pledge to protect the Iranian economy against the US sanctions so as to salvage the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 
However, their fruitless efforts to meet this purpose eventually forced Iran to scale back its JCPOA commitments, although it declared that all measures would be immediately reversed once it can enjoy the deal's benefits once again. 
In his phone conversation, Macron called on Iran to return to full compliance with JCPOA. 
"He [Macron] hoped that Iran would turn to the respect of its nuclear obligations, refrain from taking new measures contrary to JCPOA," Elysee said in a statement, according to Reuters. 
Rouhani said Iran is ready to return to compliance with its nuclear commitments once all sanctions are lifted. 
He said the primary steps for the operationalization of INSTEX were positive but insufficient. 
"This initiative should not be limited to food and medical goods and we should be able to use it to supply all our country's needs,” he told Macron. 
INSTEX is set to cover the trade of humanitarian goods and only with the EU in its first phase and is not likely to cover other sectors and third parties any time in the near future, given its slow process of activation. 
Rouhani highlighted the adverse effects of sanctions on Iran's response to the new coronavirus pandemic, saying the restrictions have made the fight more difficult for Iran than it is for other countries. 
"The US administration is violating the health regulations introduced by the World Health Organization," he said. 
Pointing to the United Nations' call for ceasefire in global conflicts during the pandemic, Rouhani hoped it would also include the economic war against Iran. 
"We expect friendly countries to pressure the US into removing its cruel and unilateral sanctions under the current circumstances," he said. 

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