Special Purpose Vehicle

  • Luncheon with Sir Peter Westmacott

    On Monday, February 4, the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative hosted a discussion on the durability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Distinguished Ambassadorial Fellow Sir Peter Westmacott. Future of Iran Initiative Director, Barbara Slavin, introduced the speaker and welcomed participants.

    Sir Westmacott made remarks on the outlook of the British government regarding the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal, the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a mechanism by European governments to salvage the deal, and prospects for European firms in conducting business inside Iran.


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  • Facing Reality: Europe’s Special Purpose Vehicle Will Not Challenge US Sanctions

    The European Union on January 31 formally announced its long-awaited special purpose vehicle (SPV) for trade with Iran, called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). 

    Predictably, the SPV won’t seek to challenge US sanctions by attempting to conduct sanctionable trade with Iran as had been originally floated, and will instead focus on non-sanctionable trade, including humanitarian goods—food, medicine, and medical devices—exempt from US sanctions. It’s clear from the European announcement that there was no real market in the EU, especially from Europe’s financial institutions, to take on the risk of being sanctioned by the United States. But this doesn’t mean that the SPV will be feckless; instead it will serve an important role in conducting the humanitarian trade that US sanctions policy encourages, but harsh US rhetoric and risk-averse...

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  • Mitigating Iran Sanctions: The Case for a Humanitarian SPV

    As part of its efforts to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, Europe is on the verge of launching a special purpose vehicle (SPV)—a payment mechanism described as “a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran.” Yet while Europeans see this mechanism as both legitimate and necessary, the SPV is regarded by the Trump administration as an attempt to evade US sanctions and is thus vulnerable to retaliation from Washington.

    As Esfandyar Batmanghelidj and I argue in a new report for the European Leadership Network and Bourse & Bazaar, establishing a humanitarian SPV (H-SPV) would enable the European Union (EU) and European...

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