Designated Chief of Iran Payments Channel Pulls Out at Last Moment

(Financial Times-UK) Tobias Buck and Michael Peel - European efforts to launch a payments channel to facilitate trade with Iran suffered a setback on Thursday when the German former diplomat who was set to take over as the new chief of Instex was forced to pull out. The move by Bernd Erbel, 72, a former ambassador to Tehran, followed revelations in the German daily Bild of a recent YouTube interview in which he called Israel "more than ever an alien body" in the Middle East. He also described the fall of Saddam Hussein as the "greatest tragedy of the early 21st century." The sudden reversal of Erbel's appointment will do little to dispel skepticism that Instex is unlikely to have a big economic impact for Iran and is little more than a symbol of European resistance to the U.S. policy of "maximum pressure" on Tehran. Trade between the EU and Iran has fallen off dramatically as European companies shun the Islamic Republic for fear of provoking retaliation from the U.S.

2019-08-09 00:00:00

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