TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The Trump administration is weighing sanctions against INSTEX -a payment channel that the three EU signatories to the JCPOA have set up to maintain trade with Iran, a report said.
The US measures would target the Special Trade and Finance Institute, which Iran established as a counterpart to the European mechanism known as INSTEX, according to a senior administration official who asked not to be identified, Bloomberg reported.
The official said the STFI is essentially an extension of Iran’s central bank, which already is covered by US sanctions and the Trump administration claims “has not implemented minimum global safeguards against money laundering and terrorism financing”.
European countries established INSTEX in January to help shield trade with Iran from US sanctions imposed after Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers a year ago.
Such a move — still in the early planning stages — would exacerbate divisions with European nations that have chafed against the Trump administration’s so-called “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.
INSTEX is planned to be based in Paris and be managed by a German banking expert. Britain will head the supervisory board.
The European countries are reportedly going to use the channel initially only to sell food, medicine and medical devices in Iran.
In May 2018, the US president pulled his country out of the JCPOA, the nuclear deal that was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).
Following the US exit, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the accord.