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Israel harshly criticized six European countries after they announced they would join INSTEX, a financial mechanism designed to allow Iran to bypass US sanctions.

The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) is a French, German and the United Kingdom-founded apparatus established in January 2019 to facilitate non-USD transactions and non-SWIFT dealings to avoid breaking US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

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Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden announced Friday they were joining INSTEX to save the nuclear deal with Iran.

Iran threatened to exit the deal with the European countries if they did not find a way to ease the US sanctions on it.

The six European countries “could not have picked worse timing,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

“The hundreds of innocent Iranians murdered during the latest round of protests are rolling in their graves,” Israel charged.

Iranians had taken to the streets in anti-government protests following the Iranian leadership’s decision to increase petrol prices in the country by 50 %. At least 1,000 protesters were arrested across the country with shops and banks were set alight.

Protesters had taken to the streets in around 100 cities. At least 200 people were killed in the government’s sharp suppression.

“We ask these European countries – what message are you sending to the Iranian people? Would it not be more effective and ethical to designate the regime officials responsible for the murder of innocent civilians? How is the Iranian regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to understand this gesture?​” Israel demanded.

However, Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz on Sunday noted progress in Israel’s campaign against Iran after France and Germany threatened to join US sanctions if Iran continued its violations of the nuclear accord.

“The brutal repression of protests in Iran reveals the true face of the Iranian government. We will continue to explain the Iranian danger and the need to stop Iran at every conference and meeting,” he added.

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