Switzerland Introduces Mechanism for Humanitarian Trade with Iran
Switzerland has introduced a new payment mechanism – the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement – that allows aid to be sent to Iran without violating US economic sanctions. According to officials in Bern, under the agreement the US Treasury Department will provide Swiss banks and corporations “with the necessary assurances that financial transactions can be processed in accordance with US legislation.” While humanitarian supplies are exempt from the American sanctions, Iran is nevertheless experiencing a shortfall in various foods, medicines and health-related equipment as banks have been weary of doing any business with the Islamic Republic that might invite scrutiny. The remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – are concurrently attempting to entice Iran to return to complying with the accord by devising methods to circumvent the sanctions, which were re-imposed by President Donald Trump after he withdrew Washington from the pact nearly two years ago. One potential financial tool repeatedly discussed is known as INSTEX – a complex barter system that would allow for continued non-dollar trade with Iran that the Europeans have been promising to implement for over a year.