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Rome reviewing details to join INSTEX and support Iran

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Staff Writer | March 8, 2019
An Italian senior official says Rome intends to join the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), the new mechanism expected to facilitate Iran-Europe trade.
Manlio Di Stefano
Europe   Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister Manlio Di Stefano
Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister Manlio Di Stefano, during a meeting on Thursday with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister in Economic Affairs Gholamreza Ansari emphasized that Italy is reviewing details for joining INSTEX.

The Italian high-ranking official, while stressing the importance of the ran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the need for the parties to fulfill their obligations, said that Italy was interested in the EU's financial mechanism and was considering the details to join it.

'We are focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises, and we believe in helping the Italian companies interested in cooperating with Iran and based on this, the best way to support the companies is through the INSTEX mechanism,' Di Stefano said.

The Iranian official for his part stressed the need for the parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to fulfill their commitments and called the formation of the financial mechanism of INSTEX as a practical measure in line with the commitments of the European parties.

Ansari also expressed hope that by joining other business parties such as Italy to this mechanism, the trade process of two countries will return to the previous trend.

He also stressed the importance of paying attention to small and medium-sized enterprises, and described as vital their role in developing economic relations between the two key countries.

Pointing to the distinction between US current unilateral sanctions with the sanctions in previous rounds, Iran's deputy foreign minister considered the current circumstances are more appropriate to continue economic cooperation and called on the Italian side to take steps to mitigate the extralegal rigors of banks and Italian institutions in trade with Iran.

The senior Iranian official during his stay in Italy also visited some of the companies and business enterprises interested in working with Iran and discussed the ways to advance bilateral trade in the current situation.

On January 31, the UK, Germany and France (the European Union signatories of the nuclear deal) launched a special purpose vehicle (SPV) dubbed the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) in order to facilitate legal trade with Iran.

France agreed to take the SPV under its jurisdiction, while Iran is expected to establish a similar entity. The vehicle should support technical opportunities of making transactions with Tehran and does not relieve those using it from the US sanctions.