Iran, May 10, 2019 – The European financial mechanism, or INSTEX, is a silver lining on the horizon or just false hopes for a mirage? This is the very question that not only the Iranian regime’s pundits and analysts haven’t been able to answer yet, but also officials in Iran’s Foreign Ministry and elsewhere are still not sure how to answer the problem.
On May 7, Iranian state-run television broadcast a program attempting to tackle this dilemma.
“After the U.S. exited the JCPOA, the Europeans were supposed to provide for Iran’s interests under the JCPOA framework. However, after one year, Europeans did not want or could not cover those interests. Europe promise was downgraded to a limited and narrow channel that hasn’t been made operational until now. According to Mr. Zarif [Iran’s foreign minister], Europe has been respecting only one percent of its obligations in real terms. [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani also warned a few days ago that Iran’s patience is limited,” Iran’s official channel one television said.
The program than quotes Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, expressing her views in this regard. “We are obliged to fully respect all the obligations that are provided by the JCPOA and this must mean for the Iranians to respect all their nuclear obligations.”
The regime’s state-TV program continues:
“They forced foreign companies to leave Iran and by violating the JCPOA, they did everything in their power: from [U.S. secretary of state] Pompeo’s 12 conditions… to labeling the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist and promising to zero our oil sales. Not to mention that alongside an economic war, the Americans are also waging a full-fledged media war, too.”
The program then quotes German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’ perspective. “We’ve made it clear to Iran that we don’t have the capability to cover the losses of European companies who are hit by losses in their business with Iran because of the threat of U.S. sanctions,” he said.
The program commentator is seen saying, “… we are the point where the U.S. left the JCPOA and started violating its obligations. This is the very point where Iran’s patience runs thin.”
The Iranian official Channel One television ends the program by quoting a warning from Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. “Unfortunately, I have to say that the JCPOA is very close to its end and it is unfortunate if it ends. However, its end won’t be on Iran.”
While the language and view of Iran’s main television channel about Europe and its mechanism are pessimistic, Zarif’s interview with Russia’s Sputnik was republished in Iranian media.
“As long as Europe stays committed to the nuclear deal, Iran will comply with it. The Iranian version of Europe’s INSTEX is a company called SATMA. We have informed Europe about the launching of this company. We may implement a similar mechanism to INSTEX with other stakeholder countries, including Russia and Turkey.”
Iran’s Mehr news agency mocks Zarif’s rhetoric of a none-European INSTEX as a “bitter joke.”
“The European INSTEX is still limited to talk and registration and is far from implementation. Nonetheless, officials and Zarif talk about a none-European INSTEX. This means [further] complicating the economic situation,” the piece reads.
Tasnim news agency, affiliated to the IRGC Quds force quotes an economic official saying, “The main problem is that as long as a bank or financial institution isn’t ready to cooperate with INSTEX, it won’t be able to do anything meaningful.”
“Unfortunately, the sanctions have resulted in a situation that no bank is ready to do business with Iran,” he adds.
“Now, three months after INSTEX was established, it appears that Iran and Iranian businessmen have got ‘nothing’ and INSTEX has not been able to open a route for trading between Iran and Europe,” the reports reads in the finale.
While deciding whether INSTEX is a silver lining for the mullahcracy in Iran or a fata morgana appears to be a highly political and biased position, it is clear until now that aside from talk and grandiose stances, Europe’s financial mechanism hasn’t done much to help the corrupt ruling elite in Tehran.