Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations called on Saturday the European payment mechanism for trade with Iran, INSTEX, “a beautiful car without fuel”, saying it’s not enough at this stage.
“I personally believe that INSTEX in its current condition isn’t enough. This mechanism without money is like a beautiful car without fuel,” Iran’s ambassador to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi told the media in New York on Saturday.
"The Europeans asked us to remain in the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]. We waited a year as they requested, but we told our European counterparts that they need to take tangible steps to maintain the nuclear deal. Mere statements in support of the pact doesn’t resolve our problems,” he added during the one-hour press briefing that was held at Iran’s permanent mission at the UN in New York.
Germany, France and the UK, the three European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal of 2015, created a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for trade with Iran called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) late January. The channel hasn’t had any financial transaction with Iran.
“Since the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, the Europeans haven’t done anything tangible, that is, the JCPOA doesn’t function well. We can’t keep our end of the bargain unilaterally and not benefit from it,” Takht Ravanchi noted.
On May 8, exactly one year after President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran announced it will reduce parts of its commitments within the pact, giving Europe 60 days to either normalize economic ties with Iran or Tehran will unveil the second phase of its reductions.
“We can’t wait more. We are not threatening anyone. We haven’t ultimatums to others. We have told them our plans that if they don’t do anything, we will reduce our commitments. We will take new steps if they live up to their commitments or responsibilities,” added the Iranian permanent representative to the UN.
Takht Ravanchi rejected guesses that Iran plans to leave the deal. “We have 10 days until the first steps and 60 days more for the second phase. This is different from us leaving the nuclear deal. We have said several times that if banking and other parts of the JCPOA are realized, Iran will return to its commitments,” he noted.
“If this situation continues, it means that they don’t respect their commitments,” he mentioned.
Iran set up and registered a counterpart to INSTEX called Special Trade and Financing Instrument between Iran and Europe (STFI) to pave the way for bilateral trade.
Takht Ravanchi, who has very recently been appointed to Iran’s permanent representative to the UN, stressed that his country is ready to do the necessary cooperation in a bid to save the nuclear deal, reiterating that other signatories should also do their job as well.