Washington feels angry as some new European nations member to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have chose to trade with Iran via the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). The envoy, whose heavy-handed diplomacy has irritated many influential Germans, found in his crosshairs a tweet by Lars Nordrum, Norway's Ambassador to Iran.
Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway are among North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members.
Meanwhile the USA ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell decried the timing of the announcement by the six countries soon after 161 people were killed protests in Iran according to Amnesty International.
The plan focuses on areas not targeted by US sanctions and will initially deal with "the sectors most essential to the Iranian population - such as pharmaceutical, medical devices, and agrifood goods", foreign ministers from the three countries said in January when announcing the plan.
The United States has vehemently opposed the plan, with Vice President Mike Pence saying earlier this year that "the time has come for our European partners to stop undermining USA sanctions against this murderous revolutionary regime". Meanwhile, Iran's response to the reimposition of sanctions within the framework of the U.S.
Iran didn't reinstate its nuclear program development until a year after the deal was broken, in hopes of preserving the deals with the help of other signatories, especially those from the European Union.
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On March 20, Iran's central bank governor Abdolnaser Hemmati announced that a mechanism similar to INSTEX has been registered in Iran, officially called the Special Trade and Finance Institute (STFI).
Six European countries, among them US NATO allies, have joined an EU scheme to bypass Donald Trump's sweeping sanctions, which ban all trade activities with Iran, raising the ire of a notorious American ambassador in Berlin.
In a joint statement on November 30, the three said they "warmly welcome the decision taken by the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden to join INSTEX as shareholders".
INSTEX was created by Germany, France and Britain to coordinate import and export payments so European companies can do business with Iran despite USA pressure, and thereby convince Tehran to stick to a 2015 deal that limits its nuclear efforts.
A Former US National Security Council Assistant for the Middle East, Rob Malley, told Reuters in February that INSTEX is "a symbolic political move" that can encourage Iran to remain committed to the JCPOA.