Economy, Business And Markets

Iran Talks With ECB Expected to Remove Banking Hurdles

Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary John Tsang (3rd L) visited the CBI on Tuesday.  Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary John Tsang (3rd L) visited the CBI on Tuesday.  

The central bank governor says negotiations will be held with the European Central Bank as part of Iran-EU talks in Brussels.

"Iran's banking talks with Europe will be held tomorrow [Wednesday]," Valiollah Seif was quoted as saying by on Tuesday in reference to European banks and their efforts to accelerate the process of reestablishing ties to Iran.

He was speaking after a meeting in Tehran with Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang.

Since the removal of international banking restrictions in January, Tehran has secured links with only a limited number of smaller banks as US sanctions remain in force and large foreign institutions still fear potential fines.

Banks remain nervous after US penalties including a $9 billion fine on France's BNP Paribas in 2014, partly for violating financial sanctions imposed in 2012 to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear program.

Major global lenders like HSBC have reiterated they have no intention of doing any new business involving Iran, questioning why the United States is encouraging them to do so when US financial firms are restricted.

"Negotiations in Europe will be held in line with realizing the goals set in the JCPOA," Seif said pointing to the nuclear accord signed by the six world powers.

Speaking of what he called "shortcomings stemming from the United States", he said Europe is striving to create an atmosphere in which Iran's banking relations with major European lenders could be developed with more speed.

The second phase of high-level talks on a string of issues will be held in Brussels and will be led by Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi and the Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Helga Schmid

The two sides are to explore a variety of issues, including closer collaboration between Iran and the 28-nation bloc in politics, economy and the fight against terrorism as well as regional crises.

Iranian and EU diplomats will also exchange views on human rights. A representative from Iran’s High Council for Human Rights is scheduled to accompany the Iranian delegation.

The first phase of the meeting between Iran and the EU was held in Tehran between Takht-e Ravanchi and Schmid in February. The two sides exchanged views on bilateral cooperation in energy, trade, banking, the environment and campaign against terrorism and extremism.

According to the central bank head, Iran has prepared incentive plans that will serve to attract investments from Hong Kong. He also said his talks with Tsang on developing bilateral ties were positive.

Seif noted that Hong Kong is a world-class player when it comes to monetary services, saying these traits coupled with Iran's capabilities "can lead to economic, and especially banking, advancement in both countries."


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