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Germany, France and UK find a way to circumvent US sanctions on Iran
A so-called special purpose vehicle (SPV) is slated to begin on 31 January to ensure that money sent to Iran by European powers will not violate US sanctions in order to maintain the 2015 nuclear deal.
The SPV would aid European firms who want to do business with Iran to conduct business using a bartering system, although officials indicated that the EU is not directly involved.
Although the SPV had been in the pipeline for some time, Germany news agency dpa reported on 30 January that the mechanism was ready to launch, ensuring that it would cover areas not targeted by US sanctions. The EU foreign ministers are meeting in Bucharest on Thursday and are expected to make the announcement then.
This move would also protect European companies from punitive US judicial measures and ensure that any financial damages incurred from sanctions would be recovered.
The US, China, Russia, Germany, France, and the UK had signed a nuclear deal with Iran in 2015, but the US said last May it would withdraw from the accord and re-impose sanctions on Iran.
Those backing the SPV want to make sure that the economic benefits given to Iran for signing the 2015 accord would be enough for Tehran to continue to follow the guidelines for curbing its nuclear program.
"We don't want Iran to leave this agreement and start the enrichment of uranium again," said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Tehran has abided by the accord regarding nuclear development, but it has continued to test ballistic missiles, which theoretically could be fitted with nuclear weapons. Iran maintains it is abiding by the accord.
On January 25, France said it was ready to impose new sanctions on Tehran if talks on its missile program make no progress.