The European Union is reportedly preparing to officially launch a European-backed system to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran and circumvent US sanctions. However, the so-called special purpose vehicle (SPV) will not operate for several months because technical details still need to be worked out.

According to exclusive reports by the Reuters news agency, the vehicle, designed to bypass fresh US curbs imposed after Washington quit a landmark nuclear deal, will be registered in France, run by a German and likely to include France, Germany and Britain as shareholders.

The SPV “should be implemented in the coming days”, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the French parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

“It will work as a sort of clearing house that will allow in euros for Iran to benefit from some of its oil resources and at the same time buy essential products from the main three main (European) partners,” Le Drian said.

According to Reuters, the SPV was conceived as a possible way to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods, an effective barter arrangement.

However, the SPV could realistically only be used for smaller trade that might be tolerated by the Trump administration, for example humanitarian or farm products.