CHANTILLY, France — European trade with Iran must respect Washington’s sanctions against Tehran, the U.S. Treasury Secretary said today.
“We want to make sure that Instex is very careful on diligence and not doing anything that would run into issues of our sanctions,” Steven Mnuchin told reporters after a two-day meeting between finance ministers and central bankers of G7 countries.
Instex is the “special purpose vehicle” (SPV) incorporated this year by France, Germany and the U.K. to keep EU business channels open with Iran, thwarting President Donald Trump’s sanctions.
Trump imposed the sanctions after pulling the U.S. out of a deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, as agreed among European leaders, Tehran and the Barack Obama administration.
EU leaders opposed Trump’s withdrawal and have pledged to honor the Iran deal. Russia has since thrown its weight behind the SPV and called on the EU to expand Instex’s business to include oil exports.
In May, the U.S. Treasury “sent a letter to Instex saying that we have certain concerns,” Mnuchin said today.
Asked how far Washington was prepared to go in enforcing its measures when it comes to Instex, the Treasury chief said, “If people want to participate in the dollar system, people will be obligated to follow the U.S. sanctions.”
Mnuchin added that he had spoken to French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire about Iran, but “didn’t discuss Instex on this trip.”
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