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Report: Switzerland Prepares to Launch Iran Payments Channel

Report: Switzerland Prepares to Launch Iran Payments Channel

Thursday, 20 December, 2018 - 07:00
Tehran skyline as seen from Iran's interior ministry in Tehran, October 24, 2016. Picture taken on October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Gabriela Baczynska
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Switzerland is close to launching an initiative to let companies 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 it reimposed sanctions against Tehran, the Financial Times reported.

The Swiss economic affairs department told the newspaper 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.

The US State Separtment signaled that it was comfortable with the Swiss channel: “We understand the importance of this activity since it helps the Iranian people. It has never been, nor is it now, US policy to target this trade.”

US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook has said that the lack of medicine in Iran is caused by the Revolutionary Guards’ policies and not the US imposed sanctions.

In an exclusive interview with VOA Persian at the State Department, Hook said that the Guards are claiming to be representing humanitarian companies to avoid the sanctions.

Also Wednesday, the head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign relations Kamal Kharrazi has said that if European special trade arrangements are not implemented “it does not mean Iran will exit from the JCPOA [nuclear agreement]”.

A day earlier, Kharrazi who is also a foreign policy advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader had said that if Europe does not deliver on its promises about facilitating trade with Iran, it will “suffer”.

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