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EghtesadOnline: The European Union says work is continuing to set up a special payment mechanism to facilitate trade with Iran and sidestep US sanctions against Tehran.

“Actually this is the work that is carried out by the [EU] member states, and according to information that we have the work is continuing and advancing well,” Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, told reporters in Brussels on Monday, Kuwait News Agency reported.

Kocijancic stressed that the Special Purpose Vehicle will be established “soon”.

“We believe that it will be established in the coming weeks to promote legitimate business with Iran,” Financial Tribune quoted her as saying.

“This is part of the broader efforts of the European Union to preserve the nuclear agreement, as long as Iran continues to respect its nuclear-related commitments.” 

Some analysts maintain that EU member states are unwilling to host the SPV for fear of being targeted by US sanctions.

On December 10, Mogherini had said the SPV could be in place by the end of 2018.

“I would expect this instrument to be established in the coming weeks so before the end of the year as a way to protect and promote legitimate business with Iran,” the top EU diplomat said at the time. 

However, Iranian officials have criticized the bloc for the prolonged delay in working out the SPV. 

“The Islamic Republic of Iran holds Europe definitely responsible for failing to implement the financial mechanism [as per the deadline],” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said recently.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif also said on Tuesday that the EU is moving more slowly than expected in facilitating non-dollar trade with Tehran to circumvent US sanctions, forcing it to explore avenues with other nations.   

“We continue to work with the Europeans for the Special Purpose Vehicle but we are not waiting for them,” Zarif told reporters in New Delhi. 

“We are working with our traditional partners like India, like China, like Russia so that we continue to work in the interest of our people.”


Eu Federica Mogherini European Union US sanctions Trade With Iran SPV special payment mechanism Maja Kocijancic