(February 1, 2019 / The Tower) The United Kingdom, France and Germany said they are prepared to announce the launch of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), an arrangement that will allow them to trade with Iran and protect European companies from the effects of U.S. sanctions, the Associated Press reported.
The SPV would set up a barter system that would allow Europe and Iran to trade goods and forgo the use of currency.
The announcement was expected to be made Thursday as European Union foreign ministers are meeting in Bucharest, Romania. While no definitive statement has been made yet, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said that the E.U. was determined to protect the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
“The most important thing is to show our American colleagues that we are moving in the same direction on a whole series of issues such as ballistic missiles or Iran’s regional influence, but that we do have a difference of opinion on the nuclear agreement,” said Reynders. “I hope we can also find a solution for this vehicle.”
Earlier this month, in a Tehran meeting with European representatives, Iranian officials reportedly stormed out and slammed the door. The undiplomatic response by the Iranians came in response to a European demand that the Islamic Republic end its ballistic missile tests and stop its terror plots on European soil.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that he expected the SPV to be ready in one or two months.
Iran’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Hamid Baeidinejad, also said that he expected the vehicle to be launched imminently.
While the purpose of the SPV is ostensibly to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, recently boasted that Iran cheated on one of its main nuclear commitments.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the AEOI, said last week that Iran didn’t fill the core of its heavy water reactor with concrete. Salehi said that Iran lied to its partners and only poured concrete into the pipes leading into the core. Iran had surreptitiously purchased other tubes and didn’t inform the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to Salehi.
“It is a shame that the E.U., founded first and foremost to preserve European security and stability, has chosen to abandon these principles for blood-stained trade agreements with the theocratic mullah regime,” Julie Lenarz, senior fellow at the Israel Project wrote in an op-ed published last week in The Tower. “Iran’s persecuted populations deserve better than being sacrificed on the altar of lucrative business deals with a regime that remains one of the worst violators of human rights in the world.”