This is potentially very good news for Iran, although I’ve raised a few (so far) unanswered questions below. If readers know the answers, please fork them over. ; )
From iranpress.com, Nov 29, 2019
“Six other European countries have joined the INSTEX financial mechanism to fulfill the E3 countries’ (Germany, UK, France) commitments to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden announced in a joint statement that they are in a process of attaching the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) for helping the E3 countries, the European party of Iran’s nuclear deal or JCPOA, to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran.
The six European countries’ statement was published on Friday in Finland’s Foreign Ministry website.” [snip]
“With the US scrapping JCPOA, the E3 countries promised to compensate for the unilateral exit of the US through the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX).
INSTEX was set up to try to enable legitimate trade with Iran to continue without falling foul of US sanctions.
After a series of negotiations between Iran and EU officials to implement INSTEX, Iran declared that E3 can’t secure Iran’s interests in the economic frameworks and no practical measures have been undertaken to launch the mechanism.
Iran, then, notified its remaining partners in the deal that it would suspend the implementation of some of its commitments as a “wake-up call” to spur the European signatories to honor their end of the bargain.”
Nov 30, 2019: ‘US slams Europeans over joining EU-Iran financial trading mechanism’, iranpress.com/en:
“The United States ambassador to Germany Richard A. Grenell has criticized the joining of six European countries to the INSTEX trade mechanism, enabling business with Iran, saying the action is ‘disrespectful‘ to US policies.
The US ambassador to Germany tweeted: “Terrible timing – why fund the Iranian regime while its killing the Iranian people and shutting off the internet? You should be standing for human rights not funding the abusers,” Iran Press reported.
Grenell is known for his extremist views against Iran and is the most controversial US ambassador in Europe.” [snip]
“Norway’s ambassador to Iran, Lars Nordrum, tweeted that “Today announced that we join INSTEX with the E3 to facilitate trade with Iran and preserve the JCPOA.”
RT.com had featured Grouchy Grenell’sTweet:
Terrible timing - why fund the Iranian regime while its killing the Iranian people and shutting off the internet? You should be standing for human rights not funding the abusers. https://t.co/LKS37nIu1I
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) November 29, 2019
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) November 30, 2019
Also Nov. 30, 2019: ‘New IAEA chief says he wants ‘constructive’ relation with Iran’, tehrantimes.com
“Rafael Grossi, the new director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has said that he wants to develop a constructive relationship with the Iranians.
In an interview with NHK published on Saturday, he said he will take a fair stance on Iran.
Rafael Grossi is set to take office as director general of the UN nuclear watchdog on Tuesday. The agency’s board appointed him to the post in October, following the death of the previous chief Yukiya Amano in July.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on October 31 that Iran is ready to expand cooperation with the IAEA based on “mutual trust” and adoption of a professional approach by the UN nuclear body.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to maintain and expand constructive interaction and cooperation with the agency based on mutual respect and professional precision and neutrality of this institution,” he said in a message, congratulating appointment of Grossi as the director general of the IAEA.
Mousavi expressed hope that Grossi would fulfill his international duties professionally and with adopting an independent position.
“What I think is important is that I give my member states and the international community the guarantee that I am absolutely independent and impermeable to pressure,” he said.
Now given that Saudia Arabia had been given a seat on the Board of Governors of the IAEA, I admit I’d figured that since the US seemed to have a heavy hand in the choice of the Director General, it might have been someone like Israeli Tzipi Livni, not Argentine Grossi, although the Wiki says that:
‘From 2002 to 2007 he was Chief of Staff of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. While working for the United Nations, Grossi visited North Korea’s nuclear facilities and participated in several meetings with representatives of Iran to reach an agreement to freeze its nuclear program.
On 28 October, 2019, the IAEA Board of Governors held its first vote to elect the new Director General, but none of the candidates secure the two-thirds majority in the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors needed to be elected. The next day, 29 October, the second voting round was held, and Grossi won 24 of the 23 needed votes required for Director General Appointment, and became the first Latin American to held the organisation.’
So yes, we hope he will indeed be ‘absolutely independent and impermeable to pressure.’ There are those who claim that Yukiya Amano refused to submit to pressure, and was assassinated for his…non-compliance with pressures. (Conspiracy Theory…or Coincidence Theory?
Now given this: “Iran declared that E3 can’t secure Iran’s interests in the economic frameworks and no practical measures have been undertaken to launch the mechanism”, I did poke about to discover more about INSTEX, and found this confusing explanation on ‘Business with Iran Through INSTEX: The Viability of Europe’s New Economic Trade Mechanism’, the practicality, feasibility, etc.. One brief outtake:
“Take for instance E.U. Company X, who wants to buy goods from Iranian Company Y. Instead of dealing directly with Iranian Company Y and making risky transactions that may violate sanctions, E.U. Company X pay what is owed through INSTEX SPV. That transaction is then ‘mirrored’ by INSTEX SPV Iran, which pays Iranian Company Y for the goods.
And given that FM Javad Zarif has long responded on Twitter to the heavy sanctions on Iran, I looked to see if he’s given any indications or this news, including whether or not Iran would cease further enrichment as a ‘wake-up call’ to the EU, but this is his latest missive from three weeks ago:
Javad ZarifVerified account @JZarif Nov 11 “To my EU/E3 Colleagues 1.”Fully upheld commitments under JCPOA” YOU? Really? Just show ONE that you’ve upheld in the last 18 months 2.Iran triggered-& exhausted-dispute resolution mechanism while you were procrastinating We’re now using para36 remedies Look at my 6/11/18 letter”
As per the statement above was by Abbas Mousavi, the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, is Zarif ill or otherwise indisposed?
Relevant to Grenfell’s Tweet above: Sharmine Narwani’s ‘Western Media Excited About ‘New Iran Revolution’, but Polls Tell a Different Story About Protests’, Nov. 29, 2019, ahtribune.com (She opens with):
“On November 15, angry Iranians began pouring onto the streets to protest sudden news of a 50% fuel price hike. A day later, peaceful demonstrations had largely dissipated, replaced instead by much smaller crowds of rioters who burned banks, gas stations, buses and other public and private property. Within no time, security forces hit the streets to snuff out the violence and arrest rioters, during which an unconfirmed number of people on both sides died.
Western commentators tried in vain to squeeze some juice out of the short-lived protests. “Iranian protesters strike at the heart of the regime’s legitimacy,” declared Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution. France 24 asked the question, is this “a new Iranian revolution?” And the LA Times slammed Iran’s “brutal crackdown” against its people.
They grasped for a geopolitical angle too: protests in neighboring Lebanon and Iraq that were based almost entirely on popular domestic discontent against corrupt and negligent governments, began to be cast as a regional insurrection against Iranian influence.
And despite the fact that the internet in Iran was disabled for nearly a week, unverified videos and reports curiously made their way outside to Twitter accounts of Iran critics, alleging that protestors were calling for the death of the Supreme Leader, railing against Iran’s interventions in the region and calling for a fall of the “regime.”
Also from ahtribune.com, Nov. 24, 2019: ‘Iran Unrest: Protests and Provocations’, Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich (I won’t bring outtakes; this OP is long enough aready,)
And for the sheer beauty and glory of it: Iranian northwestern national parks share incredible biodiversity’ November 20, 2019, tehrantimes.com
‘The very center of your heart is where life begins – the most beautiful place on earth.’