Tehran not to be "deceived" by European countries and their "smiles"
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi (Qassemi) says that a European delegation in charge of INSTEX is set to visit Tehran in "near future" to negotiate with the Islamic Republic authorities. Radio Farda reports in its article Iran Says European Delegation To Visit For Talks On Trade Mechanism that Ghassemi noted that "the delegation will probably consist of only economic and technical experts."
Germany, France, and the United Kingdom have set up a payment channel with Iran, the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX), to help continue trade with Iran and circumvent U.S. sanctions. Washington has repeatedly cautioned EU nations against such actions. Jeremy Hunt, Heiko Maas, and Jean-Yves Le Drian, Foreign ministers of the UK, Germany, and France, respectively, announced in January that INSTEX has been officially registered to facilitate "legitimate trade" with Tehran.
The European trio has insisted that INSTEX will focus initially on the sectors most essential to the Iranian population; such as pharmaceutical, medical devices, and foodstuff, excluding oil and other trade. Iranian Foreign Ministry officials have repeatedly expressed hope that INSTEX would not be limited to trade on essential commodities.
One of the main hurdles of full implementation of INSTEX is said to be Iran's hesitation to ratify the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other international conventions to combat money laundering and financing terrorism.
The fate of the bills concerning FATF is currently in the hand of the Expediency Discernment Council (EDC). The council has officially announced that it will not decide the fate of FATF before the new Iranian year, beginning March 21.
Meanwhile, numerous hardline allies of the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader have insisted that FATF should not be endorsed until the EU promises are materialized.
Furthermore, the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei once again on Monday, March 4, cast doubt on INSTEX, reiterating, "The Iranian government should not rely on European countries' proposed packages for solving internal economic problems."
In a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet on Monday, Khamenei went further and warned the government not to be "deceived" by European countries and their "smiles".