Europeans deliver medical supplies to Iran

The Azadi tower in Tehran, decorated with flags and messages of solidarity with the countries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, on March 31. – / AFP

On the Iranian issue, in the midst of a health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the transatlantic diplomatic divide continues to deepen. Tuesday, March 31, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Instex structure (acronym for "instrument for supporting trade"), thought by France, Germany and the United Kingdom to continue to trade with the Iran, despite the American sanctions, made a first transaction with the Islamic Republic concerning medical equipment.

Observers Opposed to US "Maximum Pressure" Policy Against Iran Want to See Significant Breakthrough and Success for European Diplomacy at a Time when Most Radicals in Washington See the Current Health Crisis as an Opportunity to Fold Tehran. This transaction, which takes place fourteen months after the installation of Instex, a structure long regarded as an empty shell, remains symbolic, however.

"High political expectations"

In Paris, the Quai d'Orsay has announced the continued cooperation of Instex and its Iranian partner STFI on new transactions. According to information from World, the exchange concerns blood tests exported by a German company under private law for an amount of around 500,000 euros. The transaction, which has been planned since November 2019, according to a source familiar with the matter, has been accelerated in recent weeks. These are not the equipment officially requested by Tehran to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to wreak havoc in the country, one of the world's major outbreaks.

Read also How the EU wants to trade with Iran, bypassing US sanctions

The expected results are far from the hopes initially placed by the Iranian side in the functioning of Instex. Established in early 2019, the mechanism was officially supposed to allow Iran to continue to benefit from the economic advantages associated with the nuclear agreement of 2015, despite the unilateral decision to leave it taken by the American administration in 2018 The reluctance of the European financial institutions to join the mechanism, then the tightening of sanctions against Iranian oil exports, severely restricted Instex's field of action.

The failure of Europeans to guarantee Iran the economic dividends from its nuclear concessions was presented by Tehran as a reason for the Islamic Republic to free itself from its obligations under the 2015 agreement, restoring gradually living its nuclear program. Faced with this escalation, the Europeans launched the conflict resolution mechanism provided for in the agreement. There is no indication that the start of trading paves the way for a relaxation on this front. “Instex is surrounded by high political expectations. This mechanism will not resolve the nuclear dispute, but we must not let that overshadow its usefulness for trade ", says Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Iranian economic expert and founder of the economic website Exchange & Bazaar.

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