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Russia Wants To Join The System Skirting U.S. Trade Sanctions On Iran

INSTEX lets a handful of countries avoid U.S. penalties and trade with Iran. But right now, it’s only available to EU members.

Iran wants to do business.

The U.S. is making that difficult.

“We are imposing all sanctions that were previously lifted under the nuclear deal. This includes sanctions on energy, banking, shipping and shipbuilding industries,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

But now another country wants to skirt U.S. sanctions and trade with Iran: Russia.

The problem is there’s currently only one workaround to trade with Iran without U.S. penalties. It’s called INSTEX, and so far, it’s only available to EU countries.

A Russian foreign ministry spokesperson told Britain’s Financial Times, “The full potential of INSTEX will only be able to be deployed if it will be open to the participation of countries which are not members of the European Union.”

INSTEX allows members to trade certain consumer goods with Iran. But it excludes oil, meaning Iran’s biggest export is still under the full force of U.S. sanctions.

INSTEX also doesn’t have a lot of support — only 10 of 28 EU countries are part of it. But Russia throwing its weight behind the initiative could help INSTEX — and Iran’s economy — stay afloat.

The system was meant to soften the blow of sanctions on Iran, as well as to keep it from abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal after the U.S. pulled out of the agreement last year.

So will Russia be brought in to the mix? Officials told the Financial Times they’re open to the idea.


3 thoughts on “Russia Wants To Join The System Skirting U.S. Trade Sanctions On Iran

  1. INSTEX is not available to EU member states only as High Reopresenttaive Federica Mogjherini said after the EU Foreign Affairs Council, though until now only 10 countries have joined, all from the EU. Russia, as a signatory to the JCPOA and voters of UNSC 2231 said it wanted to join and that INSTEX should cover oil too. This view is shared by some but not all 10 signatories.

    Iran’s violation of some JCPOA provisions in the past two weeks and the seizure of British tankers, if not quickly corrected, could however make the JCPOA unravel. The effect of the restoration of pre-JCPOA sanctions by the Trump administration, condemned by the 14 other members of the Security Council and the EU as a whole, seems however to have further empowered the hardliners in Tehran who say they had predicted the agreement would never work.

  2. I root for you. But just as I don’t expect any help from NATO countries since Sweden is not a member of NATO, should there come an assault on my nation, I personally will not partake in a NATO war against Russia or Iran! We partook in Americas war in Afghanistan because of the pressure from George W. Bush’s administration. ”If you are not with us, you are against us!” Quote George W. Bush. But if you are going to defend small nations like the Baltic nations I am there for you. The same goes for Ukraine too. And Iceland. And Finland. And Norway. But since I am noone my obligation does not really count. But I think I speak for the lot of us Swedes. Except for certain NATO nerds. We alone defend our own country but I am willing to help our nordic friends out. That’s my philosophy. We are willing to help America but I won’t do it for a war against Iran or Russia under these circumstances. Pragmatism yes, but not for a world war. What good would it do?

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