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French party: EU’s SPV insufficient to boost France exports to Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

As the remaining signatories to the Iran nuclear deal are preparing to implement their financial initiative within the coming months to save the 2015 nuclear accord following the US unilateral withdrawal, a political party in France casts doubt on the overall efficiency of the mechanism calling on Paris to set up a joint bank with Iran to bypass the US sanctions.

The spokesman for the Debout La France Damien Lempereur described  the decision by the P4+1 group of countries to set up a ‘special-purpose vehicle’ (SPV) to bypass the US sanctions on Iran as 'useful' but said it is largely insufficient to boost France’s exports to countries under sanctions.

“We propose to create a bank without connection or interaction with the US to finance operations of French companies in Iran but also in all countries under sanctions, especially Russia," Lempereur told Sputnik.

According to Lempereur, the bank could be established with France's support before joining other European states to found a European financial institution dedicated to France’s exports and jobs.

Earlier, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc’s initiative to facilitate payment to/from Iran as part of efforts to save the deal could be in place before November, when the US is to re-impose the second batch of its anti-Iran sanctions.

Mogherini said Wednesday she believes the SPV, which is aimed at keeping trade with Tehran flowing while the US sanctions are in place, will be established before November even though it is still at an initial stage now.

The plan to create the special payment channel was first announced in a joint statement by Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday, after a ministerial meeting of Iran and the remaining parties to the nuclear agreement.

The EU’s SPV plan has outraged US officials. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a gathering of the so-called “United Against Nuclear Iran” in New York that he was “deeply disappointed” that the remaining countries in the nuclear deal plan to set up a special payment system with Iran to bypass US sanctions.

He also condemned the plan as "one of the most counterproductive measures imaginable".

Tensions have escalated between the US and European Union countries over their plan to preserve business with Iran and avoid renewed American sanctions.

In an address to the same meeting, US National Security Adviser John Bolton also blasted the EU plan, and pressed the SWIFT global payments messaging system to reconsider dealing with the Islamic Republic.


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