European Union Sets Up Payment System with Iran to Maintain Trade

The five remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal have agreed to establish a special payment system to allow companies to continue doing business with the regime, bypassing new sanctions imposed by the United States.

Envoys from Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran issued a statement late Monday from the United Nations announcing the creation of a “Special Purpose Vehicle” that will be established in the European Union. The parties said the new mechanism was created to facilitate payments related to Iranian exports, including oil. 

Federica Mogherini, EU’s foreign policy chief, told reporters after the deal was announced that the SPV gives EU member states “a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran…and allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance to European Union law and could be open to other partners in the world.”

Mogherini said the financial agreement is also aimed at preserving the agreement reached in 2015 with Iran to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for relief from strict economic sanctions. The deal was reached under then-President Barack Obama, but Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, pulled out of the accord in May of this year, saying it didn’t address Tehran’s ballistic missile program or its influence in the Middle East.

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