Swiss-initiated payments channel for Iran ready for launch: report

TEHRAN, Dec. 19 (MNA) – Switzerland is close to launching a payments channel to let companies sell food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran in the face of US sanctions.

According to the Financial Times, the Swiss initiative has US approval and rivals EU’s promised trade mechanism that is said to bypass US sanctions against Iran.

According to the report, Bern’s humanitarian supplies plan will allow companies to sell food, medicine and medical devices to Iran using a payments channel that would be the first such mechanism to win Washington’s approval since US unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimposed economic sanctions against Tehran, targeting its banking sector.

The Swiss initiative comes as EU’s trade mechanism, as part of the bloc’s efforts to encourage Iran to remain in the nuclear deal by offering an alternative payment channel to keep trade flowing with Iran in defiance of US sanctions, was promised by EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to come into effect by the end of December.

The Swiss economic affairs department told the Financial Times it was “striving” to set up the humanitarian payments channel “as soon as possible” but could not give a start date. “Discussions are still ongoing with US authorities, Iran and Swiss companies,” it said.

Roche, the Swiss pharmaceuticals company, said it was aware of “discussions on a potential alternative financing channel for humanitarian purposes” but could not comment further. “To our knowledge no concrete proposals have been made,” it said, according to the report.

The report further adds that the US state department signaled that it was comfortable with the Swiss channel, saying “the United States maintains broad authorizations that allow for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices by US persons or from the United States to Iran.”

Meanwhile, Washington has taken a hostile approach toward the EU’s trade mechanism, undermining the bloc’s efforts for putting the SPV in place, as the channel is said to also cover Iran’s oil sales.

MS/PR

News Code 140691

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