Economy, Business And Markets

Iran Links Up With 264 International Banks

Iran Links Up With 264 International Banks Iran Links Up With 264 International Banks

Iran’s banking system has established relations with 264 foreign banks since the lifting of the sanctions on January 16, said the governor of Central Bank of Iran late Monday.

“During this period, 1,202 letters of credit have been issued for Iranian individuals and entities, which indicates the expansion of Iran’s banking relations,” ILNA quoted Valiollah Seif as saying.

According to the top banker, a big portion of the expansion took place from February 17-March 2.

“During the period, 244 banks started their corresponding relations with the country and 744 LCs were also issued during the period,” he said.          

 Seif pointed to recent claims that Iran is not connected to the SWIFT interbank messaging system and said banks are now sending their requests through the network without restrictions and we are working to improve it.

“We cannot revive the banking network overnight,” he said.

SWIFT reconnected a number of Iranian banks to its system, allowing them to resume cross-border transactions with foreign banks after the lifting of sanctions on Tehran.

Iran’s tie-up with the SWIFT system, four years after banks were cut off from the network, had become a political issue with some conservative parliamentary critics of President Hassan Rouhani complaining the reconnection was not occurring fast enough and the country’s nuclear deal was not delivering the expected economic benefits.

International sanctions, including banking restrictions, imposed against Iran ended in January under a deal with world powers in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program.

But US measures, including a ban on dollar trading and a freeze on US banks engaging in trade, remain in place. This has left non-US banks and insurers wary of processing transactions with Iran, fearing they may still fall foul of the existing measures and a lack of clarity on what they are able to do.

Seif called on banks’ CEOs to publicize their banks’ performance regarding SWIFT reconnection, telling them to “let people know we are moving forward”.

“The banking system is the key contributor to the country’s economy. Therefore, any development should be authentically publicized,” he added.