EghtesadOnline: Tehran has taken preliminary steps to establish a bank for transactions between Iran and the European Union in euro to settle all financial issues that might arise after Washington's recent decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, Iranian Ambassador to Germany Ali Majedi said on Monday.
"We have not waited for others to take this move and adopted some measures to set up a euro-based bank … Europe should establish a euro bank to continue banking cooperation with Iran … Certainly, a bank that only works with euro will strengthen euro," Majedi was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.
"The creation of such a bank would allow Europeans to continue trade with Iran, as well as with Russia, which is also under the US sanctions."
The Iranian diplomat suggested that this bank could be private, added that it would be based in Germany, Sputnik reported.
"At present, Iran and the EU, as well as Russia and China, are facing an important test to show to the world through cooperation that in some areas things can be done without the US," Financial Tribune quoted him as sayinghe said.
Majedi emphasized the importance of the commitment of Iran and the European states to uphold the Iran nuclear deal, despite the US unilateral withdrawal.
Arash Shahraeini, a board member of the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran, told the Persian newspaper Ta'adol that the establishment of a special bank for Iran would help bypass US sanctions.
"This is perhaps the first time in history that Europe is trying to come out of the US sphere of influence and act independently. It appears that Europe has become the moving engine of JCPOA," he said.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the formal name of the Iran nuclear deal.
EU measures follow the recent US pullout from the nuclear deal five other world powers signed with Iran, citing alleged flaws and demanding the inclusion of non-nuclear provisions.
Other signatories—China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union—have opposed the US move.
European politicians, in particular, have opposed the US diktat that EU companies toe the American line and shun Iran.
Since the Iran nuclear deal was signed in June 2015 and came into effect in early 2016, many large EU companies, such as Airbus, Total and Volkswagen, have engaged in deals with the Iranian companies.
Shielding European Firms
The EU is also considering how to protect its companies in Iran as well as retaliatory measures in the wake of the US pullout from JCPOA, French National Assembly member Delphine O said in remarks at the Atlantic Council on Tuesday.
"There are a number of options that we are looking at and I think those options fall into two categories. First category would be how do we simply protect our interests? How do we allow our companies to continue to do business in Iran [and] to invest in Iran?" the lawmaker said.
"How do we shield them from the secondary sanctions?"
The second category, she added, is how to retaliate against US actions that affect European companies and whether the EU should also put in place extraterritorial measures.
O stressed that the message that they would like to convey is that the EU would rather focus on the first category and not have to resort to the second.
Delphine O also told Sputnik that Tehran's idea of settling transactions with the EU in euro was worth looking at in light of the US government’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions.
Asked if Iran’s initiative was worth considering, O said, "Yes, we will look at any mechanisms that would allow us to trade in euros and not in dollars in order not to be affected by the [US] secondary sanctions … We would look into European Investment Fund that would also protect our companies. So, we would look at all sorts of options."
US President Donald Trump announced his withdrawal from JCPOA on May 8 and outlined plans to reimpose sanctions on Iran, which had been lifted as part of the accord. Other signatories to JCPOA, however, criticized Trump’s decision to unilaterally pull out.
The JCPOA requires Tehran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Iran has been in full compliance with the terms of JCPOA as verified in 11 International Atomic Energy Agency inspection reports released since the deal’s inception.