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Europe sells Iran medicine, defying US sanctions

Published on 01/04/20 at 10:26am

France, Germany and the UK have announced the sale of medicinal goods to Iran, bypassing US sanctions on the country which have ramped up since Donald Trump became President.

The trade involves the sale of £442,000 of medicine from a private company in Germany to a firm in Iran. This has been the first transaction under the INSTEX mechanism. This scheme aims to keep the Iran nuclear deal, agreed back in 2015, alive despite the US pulling out of the accord in 2018 and reapplying sanctions on Iran.

INSTEX provides economic relief as long as Iran keeps limits on its nuclear program.

In a statement the organisation said: “France, Germany and the United Kingdom confirm that INSTEX has successfully concluded its first transaction, facilitating the export of medical goods from Europe to Iran. These goods are now in Iran. Now the first transaction is complete, INSTEX and its Iranian counterpart STFI will work on more transactions and enhancing the mechanism.”

Iran had already received medical aid from these countries earlier in March to deal with its outbreak of coronavirus, however allegedly the INSTEX deal isn’t specifically to help fight COVID-19, but it is likely the new agreement is linked to damage the pandemic has done.

There are currently 44,606 cases in Iran with a death toll of 2,898. Iranian official believe it could get much worse and have blamed the US for undermining their efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

US sanctions on Iran have resumed since hostilities increased between the two countries. In January, The Trump administration assassinated Quds Force Commander General Qassam Soleimani and Iran responded by attacking US bases in Iraq.

While direct sanctions are not usually imposed on the medical industry of Iran, the pharmaceutical industry has always taken a hit due to most international banks not doing business with the country.

Conor Kavanagh

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