The European Union hailed the creation of a new trading system with Iran called INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges), voicing “continued support” for the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
In a joint statement unanimously adopted by the bloc's ambassadors on February 4, the bloc welcomed the launch of the mechanism by France, Britain, and Germany last week, according to the official website of the Council of the European Union.
“The European Union recognizes that the lifting of sanctions constitutes an essential part of the JCPOA and deeply regrets the re-imposition of sanctions by the United States, following the latter’s withdrawal from the JCPOA. The European Union underlines the efforts undertaken to preserve economic and wider benefits for Iran as foreseen by the JCPOA,” the statement said.
It added, “These are being intensified through the initiative by France, Germany and the United Kingdom, to operationalize the Special Purpose Vehicle, which has now been registered as a private entity, with a view to providing a positive impact on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of Iranian people. The Special Purpose Vehicle will support European economic operators engaged in legitimate trade with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231."
“The Council welcomes the progress on the necessary reforms and urges Iran to adopt and implement the necessary legislation pursuant to its commitments under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan. The EU and its Member States are ready to continue cooperation with Iran in these areas, including by providing technical assistance for the implementation of the FATF Action Plan.”
The statement, however, expressed concerns about Iran’s missile activities, saying, “The Council is also gravely concerned by Iran's ballistic missile activity and calls upon Iran to refrain from these activities, in particular ballistic missile launches that are inconsistent with UN Security Council resolution 2231."
Senior Iranian officials have repeatedly stressed that the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 has not imposed any ban on Iran’s missile program.
Last December, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Tasnim that nothing has been approved or endorsed in Security Council Resolution 2231 about the prohibition of missile activities for the Islamic Republic.
“Our defense doctrine is basically based on deterrence and defense, not offensive (purposes),” the top Iranian diplomat said.
This is an issue which the Islamic Republic has proved throughout its history, he added.
The statement further urged Tehran, a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to use its leverage to get Damascus behind UN-led efforts to end the war.
On Yemen, the EU called upon all parties in the region, including Iran, “to support the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2451 and to constructively work towards a lasting political solution to the conflict under UN leadership.”
The United Nations is trying to implement a truce and troop withdrawal deal in the main Yemeni port of Hudaydah, agreed at the December talks as a step that could pave the way for negotiations to end the war.
“The Council is deeply concerned by the hostile activities that Iran has conducted on the territory of several Member States and, in this context, decided to list two individuals and one entity. The European Union will continue to demonstrate unity and solidarity in this area and urges Iran to put an immediate end to such unacceptable behavior,” the statement said.
The statement also urged Iran to fully respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and called on the country to put an end to the death penalty.