EU Defied US over Iran’s Nuclear Program with INSTEX. Was It Worth It? (written for The European Views*)

The leading EU powers’ INSTEX special purpose vehicle has managed to “p*ss off” both Iran and the United States, even though it was supposed to placate both of them. Map: Wikipedia
(*This opinion / analytical article was written by Ivan Dikov for The European Views website.)

INSTEX has created a dangerous precedent that can ruin future Western sanctions, while also disgruntling everybody.

The Iranian nuclear program has been with us as a major issue in world politics for nearly two decades now.

In my case, it has been around ever since I started studying international relations, and has been invariably present literally in every IR course I ever took.

The Iranian nuclear deal – technically known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – signed in 2015 by Iran and the 5+1 powers (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the US) – together with the European Union has been celebrated as finally a step providing an option to evade an impending military conflict. That has been the main reason it has been celebrated by the Obama Administration as one of its landmark achievements.

The decision of the next US President, Donald Trump, to withdraw the United States from the JCPOA (Iranian nuclear deal) in May 2018 has tossed a new bone of contention in Trans-Atlantic relations as the three major European powers, France, Germany, and the UK, as well as the EU, were vastly disappointed by that move.

As Trump has kept slapping new sanctions at the Iranian government, the EU powers have made declarations they would keep upholding the 2015 nuclear deal, and have even taken actual moves to cushion the blow the US sanctions and thus ensure that the deal would survive, and Iran would abstain from enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels, while the European trade with Iran will remain uninterrupted.

The most notable of those has been INSTEX – Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges – a European special purpose vehicle (SPV) designed precisely to keep trade with Iran flowing through barter and non-USD, non-SWIFT transactions, while shielding both EU and Iranian companies from US sanctions…

France, Germany, the UK, and the EU have been cautious enough so as to limit the SPV to goods that aren’t targeted by US sanctions anyway – food, medicine, and medical equipment, i.e. humanitarian goods…

Read the rest of this article on The European Views website here

(330 words cited out of a total of 1,359 words)


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