Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova (Excerpts)

Europe’s first deal with Iran via INSTEX
April 2, 2020

Related Country: 

  • United States
  • Russia


The delivery of medical supplies to Iran has been reported in the media. This is the first such shipment through a new mechanism, the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), that the EU established in 2019. Of course, we can only welcome the progress with INSTEX that facilitates normal business transactions and lawful trade and economic cooperation with Iran despite US sanctions. In fact, we did so while INSTEX was still being developed. At the same time, there is no getting around the fact that the preparations, some of which were really needed and others were more like tilting at windmills, took almost a year, with the first news of the upcoming transactions dating to June 2019.

We understand that effective tools to offset the impact of illegal unilateral US sanctions is a new, labour-intensive undertaking for the European Union. Still, it has yielded some results. What needs to happen now is further efforts in this area. The procedures already established need to be improved and stepped up. If INSEX is to be a success, it needs to include US-sanctioned goods and non-EU countries that are Iran’s major trade partners. Then, INSTEX will be a fully fledged tool, fulfilling expectation as a powerful element of the global response to sanctions.

We will comment and provide information on later developments. The need for such tools usually becomes especially apparent in times of challenge such as the coronavirus pandemic. Unilateral sanctions in times like these are unacceptable, cynical and immoral.