January 19, 2021

Could Europe’s INSTEX Help Save the Iran Nuclear Deal?

By ​Francis Shin

When the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, the United Kingdom and European Union established the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) to continue humanitarian trade with Iran. Currently, INSTEX barely functions as intended by its creators. The Biden administration should empower INSTEX and use it as a confidence-building measure tool as they enter negotiations for reentering the Iran nuclear deal, officially the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.

The Biden administration needs to demonstrate that the United States is serious about returning to the Iran nuclear deal. Supporting INSTEX would illustrate not only that “America is back,” but that the Biden administration is taking humanitarian concerns seriously without sacrificing security interests.

The European Union intended for INSTEX to facilitate humanitarian trade with Iran without relying on the Society for Worldwide Interbank Telecommunications Finance (SWIFT) network or the United States dollar. The SWIFT network is the largest cross-border messaging system banks use to send and receive payment orders. The United States and European Union first used SWIFT as part of their counterproliferation sanctions in 2012 when they pressured SWIFT to disconnect several Iranian banks from its network. As a result, when the Iran nuclear deal was implemented in 2016, they allowed SWIFT to reconnect the banks.

Read the full article from The National Interest.

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