Economy, Business And Markets

US Should Publicly Clarify Banking Issues After Sanctions

US Should Publicly Clarify  Banking Issues After Sanctions US Should Publicly Clarify  Banking Issues After Sanctions

Iran on Thursday called on the United States to make a clear public pledge that it would not penalize European banks for legitimate trade with the Islamic Republic.

Many foreign banks are cautious about resuming trade with Iran following January's nuclear deal because they fear being caught up in ongoing US sanctions.

"Rebuilding the confidence of the banks that the United States will not re-intervene in their relations with Iran may require some further assurance from the United States," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at Chatham House in London, Reuters reported.

"We don't need any more legalese - we need clear precise assurances that banks can do business with Iran," he said. "I hope that is fast coming because if not it would be a problem of implementation."

Although world powers lifted many crippling sanctions against Iran in return for the country complying with a deal to curb its nuclear program, some restrictions remain in place

Washington still prevents US nationals, banks and insurers from trading with Iran and also prohibits any trade with Iran in US dollars from being processed via the US financial system.

This is a significant complication given the dollar's role as the world's main business currency.

European banks are also cautious - with some, including Deutsche Bank, remembering past fines from US regulators for bypassing the sanctions.

When asked about trade with Britain, Zarif said that good economic and commercial relations could resume.

"Iran and Britain have had traditionally good commercial and economic relations and I think those can resume," Zarif said. "We need to work together on moving the political relations forward."

Iran has 9.3% of the world's proven oil reserves, the fourth largest after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Canada, and 18.2% of the world's natural gas reserves, bigger even than Russia's 17.4% share, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.