To beat newly re-imposed US sanctions against Iran, the European Union is searching for an EU country to host a special mechanism to trade with Iran. No member has volunteered for the job.
On November 5, the EU reissued its November 2 statement saying it was still setting up the so-called special purpose vehicle (SPV).
Designed to circumvent the US sanctions, the EU had hoped to have its SPV ready by now. While several member states have been reportedly asked by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to consider being the headquarters, no country has agreed.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said “the European Union does not approve of” the re-imposition of US sanctions lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.
Meanwhile, Brian Hook, Washington’s special representative for Iran, underscored the risks for European companies, warning that any EU country hosting the SPV could potentially be sanctioned.
“The United States will not hesitate to sanction any sanctionable activity in connection with our Iran sanctions regime,” Hook told a telephone call with European reporters when asked about the vehicle.
Reuters quoted one senior French diplomat as saying that the mechanism would be legally in place soon, but things needed to be fully cemented first.
“We hope the legal instruments will be put in place in the coming days. It will then be a few weeks or months to finalize its modalities, and its implementation will be during 2019,” he said. He added there was no way any trade with this mechanism could be done before year-end.