A high ranking British trade official, Simon Penny, has said Iran-EU special payment channel and trade mechanism, known as INSTEX, will become operational soon.

Iran Press/Iran news: A high ranking British trade official, and commissioner for commerce, Simon Penny, has emphasized that the special payment channel, INSTEX  (short for Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges) will become operational soon, adding that many British companies do business with Iran and they are keen to expand their presence in the Iranian market.

In a meeting with the head of Isfahan Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, Simon Penny emphasized that the message from the British government to the Iranian government is that Iran should remain fully committed to the nuclear accord (JCPOA). 

Penny added: "After America's withdrawal from JCPOA, Western Banks limited Iran's access to the financial markets and were wary of trade or business with Iranian companies. But the three European powers, Britain, France and Germany, set up INSTEX, a special purpose vehicle aimed at facilitating legitimate trade between European companies and Iran.

The head of Isfahan's Chamber of Commerce, Abdol Wahhab Sahlabadi for his part emphasized that Iran expects the British government to clarify its position with regards to INSTEX, and should honor its promises.

According to Iran Press report, Sahlabadi also emphasized that Iran has not benefitted from JCPOA, particularly with regards to trade and banking transactions.

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After US withdrawal from JCPOA, Iran's access to international banks has been limited. But three European countries, Germany, France and the U.K. have created a special purpose vehicle for trade with Iran and they looking for trade facilitation.  

Meanwhile, the deputy British ambassador to Tehran, Giles Watker, who was also present at this meeting, emphasized that the special payment channel, set up by Germany, France, and the UK, INSTEX, will soon become operational.

Watker added: "Iran can use and enjoy JCPOA economic benefits and we are waiting for Iranian authorities to declare a corresponding mechanism on the Iranian side to start banking transactions".

Earlier on 24 December, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asked the Europeans to speed up SPV launch. Zarif warned that Iran is not handcuffed in dealing with the situation, saying: "Tehran has multiple options on the table which could be brought into action if Europeans do not honour their JCPOA promises soon."

Also on January 28, Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Bahram Ghassemi said that Iran is waiting for the European Union's official launch of a special payment channel aimed at circumventing the United States’ sanctions to facilitate trade with Iran.

The special purpose vehicle (SPV) is part of the EU’s efforts to encourage Iran to remain in the nuclear deal following the unilateral withdrawal of the US back in May, by offering an alternative payment channel to keep trade flowing with Iran in defiance of US sanctions. 212/211/103

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