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30 Nov, 2019 10:08

US envoy spews vitriol as 6 more EU nations defy sanctions, join bypass device INSTEX & urge saving Iran nuclear deal

US envoy spews vitriol as 6 more EU nations defy sanctions, join bypass device INSTEX & urge saving Iran nuclear deal

Six European countries, among them US NATO allies, have joined an EU scheme to bypass Donald Trump’s sweeping sanctions, which ban all trade activities with Iran, raising the ire of a notorious American ambassador in Berlin.

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden released a joint statement relating their intent to connect to INSTEX, short for the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, a European special-purpose vehicle. The move is to “facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran,” and also to make the Islamic Republic stick by the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.

The news –lauded by some European diplomats– earned an angry rebuke from Richard Grenell, the US Ambassador to Germany. The envoy, whose heavy-handed diplomacy has irritated many influential Germans, found in his crosshairs a tweet by Lars Nordrum, Norway’s Ambassador to Iran.

Nordrum didn’t respond to the verbal assault, but the INSTEX participants’ expansion received credit from French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian, who praised the “important decision” that will show “Europe’s autonomy of action.”

Launched by the UK, France and Germany in January, INSTEX shields European businesses from US sanctions by allowing them to trade with Iran without using dollars or running transactions through American banks.

The move was to push back against the US, which unilaterally walked out of the nuclear deal last year, re-imposed heavy sanctions on Iran’s finances, foreign trade and oil production, and designated its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.

Also on rt.com Tired of waiting: Iran slams Europe for ‘lagging behind’ in launching trade mechanism

The Europeans, instead, chose to remain in the deal, although Iranian officials have been skeptical of their attempts to protect mutual trade against US restrictions. Earlier this year, Tehran also exceeded several commitments under the deal, beginning to enrich uranium and building new nuclear centrifuges.

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