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  • Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi at a press conference in Tehran, Iran, May 14, 2013.

    Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi at a press conference in Tehran, Iran, May 14, 2013. | Photo: EFE file

Published 1 February 2019

The INSTEX, whose designed began following Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, will be based in France and headed by a German economist.

Tuesday Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi welcomed the 'Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges' (INSTEX), a payment mechanism designed by Germany, France and the United Kingdom to maintain trade with Iran and avoid U.S. sanctions on the Persian nation, but urged that it be implemented "in its whole."

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"We hope it is not incomplete," Araghchi said and explained that this payment channel should be opened to non-European countries and include all goods subject to U.S. sanctions.

The INSTEX, whose designed began following Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, will be based in France and headed by a German economist.

According to Araghchi, the mechanism will be "totally beneficial for Iran when it is also accessible to all non-European countries and companies."

"It is the first step of the European Union (EU) commitment to Iran," said the vice minister, who emphasized that this type of instrument has been designed primarily for goods subject to sanctions.

While INSTEX will be used initially for the food and medicine trade, it will not include Iran's oil exports for now, as promised by the EU when it announced the creation of a payment channel last September.

The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said that Brussels supports "legitimate trade with Iran to continue," as foreseen in the 2006 nuclear agreement with Tehran.

The agreement - signed by the United States, France, the UK, Germany, Russia and China - limits Tehran's atomic program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

However, the U.S. abandoned the pact on May 2018 and imposed sanctions on Iran, forcing the rest of the signatories to seek ways to get around the sanctions and save the nuclear agreement.

The announcement of the INSTEX comes four days after the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, urged Europe to implement the financial mechanism "before it is too late."

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