(Persia Digest) – An international affairs expert in Iran believes: “Making INSTEX conditional on the FATF or our missile program means even optimists inside Iran cannot support it. As such, doubts have increased about the efficacy of this mechanism.”
After months of speculation, France, Germany, and the UK finally announced a financial mechanism called INSTEX three days ago to work with Iran despite US sanctions. Nevertheless, Europe has set conditions to launch the mechanism based on Iran joining the FATF. The Iranian Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had announced earlier that pre-conditions were unacceptable for the European financial channel.
Professor Rahman Ghahremanpour, an international affairs expert based in Tehran, told Persia Digest (PD) in an interview: “Presently, pessimism in Iran overtakes optimism regarding INSTEX. Even those who previously supported the SPV, like Deputy Parliament Speaker, Motahari, and FM Zarif approach it cautiously. This caution can be interpreted as Iran bargaining with Europe and it may not necessarily be a sign that Iran has not been very responsive.”
He commented on the reasons for a lack of Iranian enthusiasm regarding INSTEX, saying: “The first reason pertains to the long wait for its realization. The second reason is about its unattractive contents. Europe was expected to show more daring and give Iran more tangible points to keep it interested in the JCPOA. It seems this half-baked mechanism is more in line with keeping Iran from feeling less frustrated are more hopeful to stay in the JCPOA. The Europeans have also tried to keep the US happy with the mechanism. But the contents do not satisfy either Iran or the US.”
The university professor reiterated: ““Making INSTEX conditional on the FATF or our missile program means even optimists inside Iran cannot support it. As such, shadows of doubt have spread over the efficacy of this mechanism.”
Speaking about the efficiency of INSTEX, Ghahremanpour said: “This depends on the political will to implement the mechanism. Europe has shown that it is determined, but from Iran’s point of view they are not prepared to pay the price of its implementation. Therefore, they have linked INSTEX to the FATF. European governments need to give more financial, legal, and political support to companies who wish to trade with Iran.”
Regarding the differences of opinion inside Iran about INSTEX being conditional on the implementation of the Palermo Convention and CTF, he stressed: “Europe is aware that Iran will not accept their conditions under duress. The experiences of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear negotiations are witness to this. But the mechanism may still become operational with behind the scene agreements or certain positions taken by those like Shamkhani who commented on not increasing missile ranges. Many paths are open to us in the world of politics. Europe has shown its good will with this option and it is waiting to see if it can reach conclusions with Iran on other issues or not.”
Ghahremanpour added: “Reaching understandings inside Iran on INSTEX with the said conditions does not necessarily mean direct talks on issues such as the missile program. Europe knows that procedures in Iran take a long time and the FATF file has been referred to the Expediency Council after extensive scrutiny. Long months were also spent by Europeans on the mechanism. Therefore, INSTEX requires time to work. Under the circumstances, I give it a 30 to 40 percent chance of success.”
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