New Chief at INSTEX

Bernd Erbel, a German diplomat and a former head of his country’s mission in Iran (Oct. 2009-2013) has been appointed as the new president (INSTEX). 

He succeeded his compatriot, Per Fischer, a former Commerzbank director who presided over the mechanism since its inception in January. 

Erbel is to officially take office today (August 1), according to IRIB News Agency. 

Erbel has also served as ambassador to Egypt and carried out diplomatic missions in Beirut, Sana’a, Riyadh, Cairo and Kuwait.    

Since retiring in 2013 Erbel has been program director for the countries of the Near and Middle East as part of the International Diplomatic Training Program of the German Federal Foreign Office. In addition, since 2014 he has been a lawyer in a advisory capacity at the law firm Gauweiler and Bub.

Backed by 10 EU states, INSTEX was launched in January but only became operational last month. The mechanism is designed to facilitate payments to Iran and bypass US trade sanctions reimposed on the country after President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in the summer of last year. 

Following the 12th meeting of the Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria, held regularly to ensure the protection of the nuclear deal, the remaining signatories to the deal announced in a statement that INSTEX is operating and processing the first transactions.