LONDON - The British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt today, along with his French and German counterparts, announced the creation of the Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a new mechanism for facilitating legitimate trade between European entities and Iran. This announcement is part of European efforts to preserve and support the Iran nuclear deal.

Speaking at a meeting of EU foreign ministers, the Foreign Secretary said:

“Today we have taken a significant step forward in delivering our commitment under the Iran nuclear deal to preserve sanctions relief for the people of Iran. We – the E3 - have registered a new Special Purpose Vehicle which, when operational will allow legitimate trade between Europe and Iran.

“This is a clear, practical demonstration that we remain firmly committed to the historic 2015 nuclear deal struck with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, for as long as Iran keeps implementing it fully.

“The SPV will facilitate legitimate trade under European and international law. Its immediate focus will be on enabling trade in goods where the immediate need of the Iranian people is greatest, i.e. foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods.

“Registration is a big step, but there is still more work to be done. The E3 are working closely to address all the technical and legal aspects required to make this vehicle operational. That includes work with Iran to establish the necessary counterpart structures.

“The Iran nuclear deal remains central to international efforts to halt nuclear proliferation and is crucial for the security of the region. But we are clear; this commitment does not in any way preclude us from addressing Iran’s hostile and destabilising activities.”