Economy, Business And Markets

13 Tons of Gold Repatriated to Central Bank of Iran

13 Tons of Gold Repatriated to Central Bank of Iran 13 Tons of Gold Repatriated to Central Bank of Iran

T he Central Bank of Iran received 13 tons of its gold bullion blocked by sanctions, according to its Governor Valiollah Seif.

The issue was resolved on the sidelines of the nuclear talks in Vienna.

The Iranian central bank was put under economic sanctions as pressure on Tehran’s nuclear energy program intensified in 2010, leading to the accumulation of over $100 billion in frozen assets abroad.

The gold was transferred to Iran by the government of South Africa, which had been holding onto the assets due to the harsh sanctions.

The gold appears to have been released as part of a sanctions relief package that will have awarded Iran nearly $12 billion in unfrozen cash assets by the time nuclear negotiations wrap up next week.

Iran received $4.2 billion in unfrozen assets under the 2013 interim agreement with the United States and was given another $2.8 billion by the Obama administration last year. The US State Department calculates that Iran will have received a total of $11.9 billion in cash.

 “A sum of 13 tons of gold that had been purchased before and was deposited in South Africa in the past two years and could not be transferred to Iran due to the sanctions… was delivered to the Central Bank of Iran’s Treasury last night,” Seif said, as reported by Fars News Agency.

Seif said the transfer is evidence the talks are succeeding.

The report said the retrieval of gold was the result of months of hard work. The gold is worth about $485 million based on current price per ounce.

The US State Department said the timing was unrelated to the current talks and stems from the interim agreement reached in November 2013. That deal suspended sanctions on trade with Iran in gold and precious metals starting January 2014.

Seif said Iranian officials had been working for to secure the gold’s release, but the country was prevented from doing so as a result of the “illogical problems that were created under the pretext of sanctions.”

“The removal of Iran’s sanctions and gaining access to the country’s financial and gold resources abroad is one of the main objectives of Iran’s negotiating team in the ongoing nuclear talks,” the report said.

Iran is negotiating with the five original nuclear members of the United Nations Security Council—the US, Britain, France, Russia and China—plus Germany on a deal to lift international sanctions in return for limits on Iran’s nuclear energy program. Negotiators extended a Tuesday deadline for another week and are now seeking a deal by July 7.

Iran’s Ambassador in Paris Ali Ahani this weekend stressed that his country’s main objective in the talks is to end international sanctions.

 “Fortunately, the West has come to realize that the weapon of sanctions was not effective and forced to change its approach and recognize Iran’s legitimate rights,” the official was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Iran’s GDP grew 3% in the last Iranian year ending March 20, 2015, according to the Iranian government. Furthermore, inflation dropped to under 17% for the year, from over 35% the year before.