In a reaffirmation of their commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (‘JCPOA’), foreign ministers of three countries (France, Jean-Yves Le Drian; Germany, Heiko Maas; and the United Kingdom, Jeremy Hunt) have announced the creation of INSTEX SAS (Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges) ‘a Special Purpose Vehicle aimed at facilitating legitimate trade between European economic operators and Iran.’
In a statement, the ministers say that INSTEX ‘will support legitimate European trade with Iran, focusing initially on the sectors most essential to the Iranian population, such as pharmaceutical, medical devices and agri-food goods. INSTEX aims in the long term to be open to economic operators from third countries who wish to trade with Iran and the E3 continue to explore how to achieve this objective.’
The foreign ministers described INSTEX as ‘a major first step taken’ and said its operationalisation of INSTEX would follow ‘a step-by-step approach: continue to work on concrete and operational details to define the way the company will operate; the E3 will also work with Iran to create an effective and transparent corresponding entity that is required to be able to operationalise INSTEX.’
Speaking at the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Bucharest, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
‘Today we have taken a significant step forward in delivering our commitment under the Iran nuclear deal to preserve sanctions relief for the people of Iran. We – the E3 – have registered a new Special Purpose Vehicle which, when operational, will allow legitimate trade between Europe and Iran.
‘This is a clear, practical demonstration that we remain firmly committed to the historic 2015 nuclear deal struck with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, for as long as Iran keeps implementing it fully.’