France, Britain and Germany are this week executing their plans to set up a special-payments company to secure some trade with Iran and blunt the impact of U.S. sanctions.
“After months of delays, people familiar with the plan said Tuesday the three European governments had started the process of registering the company to run a payments channel that would allow goods to be bartered between European and Iranian companies without the need for direct financial transactions. The company should be established by Thursday or Friday,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The company is being registered in France and will be headed by a German official with the French, British and German governments as shareholders — an arrangement intended to ward off U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s threat of sanctioning the entity by putting it under the aegis of Washington’s traditional European allies.
President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. unilaterally from the international 2015 nuclear deal in May and ordered sanctions against Iran. The first round of sanctions went into force on August 6 and the second round, which targets Iran’s oil exports and banks, were snapped back on November 4.
In an interview with the European Council on Foreign Relations published on January 11, Mogherini said that the United States cannot impose its policies on the 28-nation bloc’s legitimate trade relations with Iran.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday that the EU is on the verge of launching an alternative channel to send money to Iran that would sidestep U.S. sanctions against the Islamic republic.
“As far as the special purpose vehicle is concerned: it will be registered, it has not yet been registered, but I would say that the implementation of our plan is imminent,” according to AP, he told reporters in Brussels.
Cover photo: From left, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson pose for a photo during a meeting of the foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany with the Iran Foreign Minister and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, at the Europa building in Brussels, Tuesday, May 15, 2018.