Economy, Business And Markets

Iran Exchangers Alone May Handle Forex Transfer

Exchangers Alone May Handle Forex TransferExchangers Alone May Handle Forex Transfer

The process of transferring foreign exchange to other countries might solely become the jurisdiction of exchangers due to the recent disputes with Halkbank and Emirati banks, a banking expert said.

“Halkbank has cut its forex relations with Iran since the bank also has ties with the US and is under pressure from that side.  The Central Bank of Iran is negotiating with Turkish banks to resolve the issue,” Fars News Agency also quoted Bahaoddin Hosseini Hashemi as saying.

Hossein Yaqoubi, CBI’s director general for international affairs, recently announced that a delegation from the Central Bank of Turkey will soon meet their Iranian counterparts in Tehran to remove obstacles to bilateral banking relations, particularly difficulties involving Iranian citizens’ bank accounts in the Turkish Halkbank.

In late March, a senior executive at Halkbank, one of Turkey’s largest state-owned banks, was arrested in the US on charges of conspiring to evade trade sanctions on Iran.

Mehmet Hakan Atilla is accused of conspiring with Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, to channel hundreds of millions of dollars through the US financial system on behalf of Iranian companies.

According to a source in Iran-Turkey Chamber of Commerce, Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci is also scheduled to visit Iran by the end of the current month on June 21 to negotiate a preferential trade agreement between the two sides.

Hashemi noted that in addition to Halkbank, two banks in China and one bank in Emirates shouldered the bulk of forex transfer for Iranians.

Media reports show bank accounts belonging to Iranian citizens either face closures or limits in the UAE. US companies are among major shareholders in Emirati banks who are legally barred from doing direct business with Iran, the source said, adding that bilateral banking ties have suffered more after US President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia where he called for setting up a regional alliance against Iran.  

However, the limits have not been officially mandated by the governments of these countries, but are initiated by the lenders themselves.

“There is no serious issue with Chinese banks but since we export petrochemicals there, they have asked for related documents which is their legal right and will be provided soon,” Hashemi said.

The banking expert said most European banks did not engage in any kind of banking relations with Iran and money transfers have been handled only by Asian banks.


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