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EghtesadOnline: The European Union's newly-created special purpose vehicle aimed at facilitating legitimate trade with Iran needs time to prove effective in rescuing Iran's troubled economy under harsh American sanctions, Iranian parliamentarians said.

France, Germany and the United Kingdom (E3) announced in a joint statement on Thursday the creation of their much-awaited financial mechanism for trade with Iran called INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) in accordance with the commitment to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal (formally titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). 

The instrument is aimed at enabling trade between Iran and European economic operators in spite of the sanctions reimposed by the United States after it withdrew from the nuclear agreement last year. 

Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani told reporters on Saturday that the system's efficacy could only be assessed in practice, according to Financial Tribune.

"For now, one could talk neither positively nor negatively about it; it should be evaluated in practice," he was quoted as saying by ISNA. 

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, the head of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, also told the news agency that INSTEX has political rather than economic effects. 

"To evaluate the economic benefits of INSTEX, one should wait to see how effective it is in addressing the problems," he said, claiming that Europeans have not yet taken a practical step in saving JCPOA. 

As per the E3 statement, INSTEX will come into effect after its concrete and operational details are defined and a corresponding entity is created in Iran. 

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told state media on Friday that the process could take a month or two before INSTEX is up and running.

Even then, it will initially focus on vital sectors such as pharmaceutical, medical devices and food. 

"In the long run, INSTEX aims to serve economic operators from third countries who wish to trade with Iran and the E3 continue to explore how to achieve this objective," the statement read. 


Foreign Response 

Following the statement's release, EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini welcomed the instrument's registration as a step to ensure Iran can benefit from an essential dimension of JCPOA, the lifting of sanctions. 

"We will continue to accompany the work of member states involved to make this vehicle operational as soon as possible in close coordination with the Iranian counterparts," she was quoted as saying by EEAS. 

China, another signatory of the nuclear deal, also expressed appreciation for E3 efforts to maintain the accord. 

Its Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang, said on Friday that his country would support the establishment of INSTEX. 

"China firmly supports the European side in continuing its cooperation with Iran and promoting the operation of the mechanism as soon as possible and opening the mechanism to third parties, to facilitate the normal trade cooperation between the international community and Iran," Xinhua quoted him as saying. 

Russia, the other non-western party to the nuclear deal, also commended the European move, describing it as a move to implement JCPOA. 

"Russia was also interested in creating the instrument, since we see this as a step towards implementing the well-known agreement on Iran. Let's see how this mechanism will work," Russia's permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, said on Friday. 

The European move was also well received by Turkish officials who referred to it as a positive step to counter the US stance on Iran. 

"Such sanctions have negative impacts not only on Iran but also on Europe and other countries around the world … Therefore, Turkey regards Europe’s steps to counter the United States’ stance as positive," Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday, Turkish-language Anadolu Agency reported. 


Iran trade sanctions Ali Larijani European Union Lawmakers Special Purpose Vehicle INSTEX Wait-and-See