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December 1, 2019 9:11 pm

Israel Rebukes Six European Countries for Joining Sanctions-Avoiding Financial System

avatar by Karys Rhea

People stop their cars on a highway to protest increased gas prices, in Tehran, Iran, Nov. 16, 2019. Photo: Nazanin Tabatabaee / WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters.

Israel sharply rebuked six European countries on Sunday after they announced their intention to become members of INSTEX, a financial system that provides a path for Iran to circumvent US sanctions and continue exporting oil and other goods to Europe.

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden said on Friday that they would join the trade mechanism, which has yet to facilitate a transaction. After the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018, the bartering system was established to sidestep sanctions and preserve the deal.

“Iranians murdered during the #IranProtests are rolling in their graves! What message are you sending to the Iranian people?” tweeted Israel’s Foreign Ministry in response, referring to recent anti-regime protests that have swept the country. Israel said the announcement empowers the brutal Iranian regime and added that European states could not have picked a worse time.

“How is the Iranian regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to understand this gesture?” the Ministry added.

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The Foreign Ministry also tweeted a video of Iranians demonstrating against their government for frittering away state funds in support of foreign adventures.

“No to Gaza! No to Lebanon! Only for Iran/Our Money is Lost. They Spent it in Palestine!” the protesters can be heard chanting.

The Ministry’s Director General Yuval Rotem urged the six countries to reconsider.

“This cannot be the right message to the men, women and children suffering brutal oppression by the Iranian regime,” Rotem tweeted.

Ambassador Dani Dayan, the Consul General of Israel in New York, similarly took to twitter to call out the European countries for encouraging the Iranian regime’s repression of its citizens.

In a video statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the six countries should be ashamed of themselves.

“While the Iranian regime is killing its own people, European countries rush to support that very murderous regime,” he charged.

Protests erupted across Iran beginning November 15th after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei announced a 50 percent increase in government-set gas prices.

Due to a government media blackout, official death tolls and arrest numbers have been difficult to verify.

Amnesty International put the number of casualties at 161, though death tolls are estimated to be much higher. 7,000 are thought to have been arrested.

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