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France: INSTEX making positive progress

Tehran, The 'INSTEX' mechanism set up by France, Britain and Germany for Iran to skirt US sanctions is making positive progress, said the French foreign ministry on Tuesday, as it responded to the latest moves by the US government to put pressure on Iran, Reuters reports.

'The work that has been put in place is making positive progress, with a view to an eventual conclusion. Iran must also, for its part, make progress on its equivalent counterpart,' said the French foreign ministry in an electronic briefing.

France also reiterated its support for a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

On Monday, the US demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, in a move aimed at choking off Tehran's oil revenues.

INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) was conceived as a way to help match Iranian oil and gas exports with purchases of EU goods, but those ambitions have been reduced.

The US move, aimed at cutting down the Iranian crude exports to zero, has buoyed the markets for a second day. Crude prices rose to a fivemonth high on Tuesday, as Washington's decision to end sanctions waivers on Iranian oil imports sent shares in some of the world's biggest energy companies higher.

Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, rose as much as 0.8 percent to $74.64 a barrel, adding to gains on Monday to reach its highest level since early November before falling back slightly to $74.43 by late morning in London. West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, increased 0.7 per cent to $66.02.

China and Turkey have reacted defiantly to Washington's measure. Iraq, that bought Iranian gas to feed its starving power plants, has also criticized the US plan to bring Iran oil exports to zero.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency IRNA

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