Blog AnalysisIransanctions

The establishment of the SPV, the barter instrument with Iran, a strong symbolism

(B2) The implementation of this barter instrument (or SPV as Special purpose vehicle) by Europeans should not be overlooked. This creation is important in more than one way

Admittedly, it was not easy and it took several long weeks of discussion. Admittedly, this instrument starts 'small', with rather non-strategic sectors. Admittedly, one can wonder whether this will be enough to maintain sufficient trade flows with Iran. But you have to put it all in context.

Starting from nothing, and staying united

This is the first time that we have built a barter instrument from scratch, multilaterally. A number of legal, economic and state issues had to be settled. It's logic. To have done it, in a relatively quick time, is remarkable in a way. Having managed to keep the unity of the three great countries (the Franco-Germans, and the British) which could have had other reasons for division (Brexit), as well as all Europeans is also not negligible.

Keeping the Iran deal alive

This gesture also has a double symbolism. First of all vis-à-vis Iran. The Europeans of the E3 thus show in concrete terms that they intend to preserve the full value of the Iranian nuclear agreement by doing their part of the job: facilitating trade flows in areas not marked by sanctions. The ambition to continue to bring the Iranian nuclear agreement to life is, moreover, the ultimate objective of the Europeans.

A finger of honor to Donald Trump

Finally, and above all, this is the first time that the Europeans, together, have set up a tool deliberately intended to circumvent American sanctions. It's a cut in the extraterritorial sanctions policy of the United States, which does not date from the current administration. It is a precise mark, no longer only in words but in deeds, of a clear opposition to American foreign policy on a strategic question (relations with Iran) (1). Opposing so deliberately on a strategic issue is a small arm of honor to Donald Trump. We will therefore not sulk this (small) pleasure.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Read to follow: Instex, the instrument intended to counter the US sanctions is in place. But not quite operational yet

  1. In the past, there have been oppositions between Europeans and Americans. But either they related to trade issues (eg Airbus), or the Europeans were divided (eg Iraq).

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).