Russia is joining forces with Europe to rescue the Iran nuclear deal that Trump abandoned
The payments channel, Instex, would be a massive step forward in attempts by the EU and Russia in rescuing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Iran's President Rouhani and President Trump have in the past year been at loggerheads over the nuclear deal, with Trump abandoning it last May.
The move by Moscow to work with the EU is also surprising, given the little cooperation between the two parties since Russian annexed Crimea in 2014, attempted murder of a double agent in the UK, and alleged attempts to meddle in EU elections.
However, it also marks a move by both the EU and Moscow to ignore Trump's sanctions. Since Trump pulled out of the deal last May, France, Germany, China, the UK, and Russia all have been trying to maintain trade with Iran, but have been hindered by companies not wanting to risk problems with the White House.
Since then Iran has breached the deal by going above the agreed limit on uranium enrichment levels, out of retaliation for US sanctions on Iran.
"Russia is interested in close co-ordination with the European Union on Instex," the Russian foreign ministry told the Financial Times. It added that it would become more effective as more countries got involved.
Iran has been expressing it's frustration with the other parties who signed the 2015 deal at not helping Iran after the US imposed sanctions — namely on oil imports, which is Iran's most valuable commodity.
In a televised speech on Sunday, Iranian President Rouhani said "we are ready to hold talks with America today," but wants to return to the Obama-era nuclear agreement and have the economic sanctions from President Donald Trump's administration lifted before that happens.