Those European efforts have centered on the creation of a payment channel with Iran, which in theory could allow European companies to keep trading with the country despite U.S. sanctions. The Paris-based Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) was formally registered by Britain, France and Germany more than three months ago and is expected to operate essentially like a clearinghouse for credit points.
That confirms a few things that we already suspected. First, it tells us that the U.S. is determined to cut off all legitimate trade with Iran, including trade in supposedly exempted humanitarian goods. They are actively working to cause the Iranian people as much misery as they can. Second, it tells us that the administration is willing to wreck its relations with some of its closest European allies to pursue their economic war against the Iranian people. U.S. interests and longstanding relationships with important allies are being sacrificed for the sake of a vindictive and outrageous policy of collective punishment against a population of more than eighty million people.
Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, signaled in a May 7 letter obtained by Bloomberg that Instex, the European vehicle to sustain trade with Tehran, and anyone associated with it could be barred from the U.S. financial system if it goes into effect.
Donald Trump’s staff have threatened sanctions against the financial body created by Germany, the UK and France to preserve trade with Iran in defiance of US trade barriers.
Sigal Mandelker of the US Treasury Department threatened Instex – the European body established to sustain trade with Iran – and anyone associated with it with exclusion from the US financial system.
“You present them with everything, and you give them a recommendation, and nothing happens,” said Tammy McFadden, a former Deutsche Bank anti-money laundering specialist who reviewed some of the transactions. “It’s the D.B. way. They are prone to discounting everything.”
Ms. McFadden said she was terminated last year after she raised concerns about the bank’s practices.