CBI chief demands lifting barriers to int’l banking ties with Iran

Tehran, April 19, IRNA – Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Valiollah Seif on Tuesday demanded the US and western states to honor their commitments to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and lift the impediments to banking ties with Iran.

Seif made the demand in an exclusive interview with IRNA after end of the joint session of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, which was held in Washington on April 15-17.

Responding to a question by IRNA about JCPOA and its impact on improvement of banking and economic relations with Iran, Seif said the JCPOA has been a big and historical move in its kind in Iranian history.

Through the JCPOA, Iran could put aside the hostile ‘wrong and baseless’ allegations that its nuclear activities aim to produce nuclear bombs, he added.

‘Such a big achievement was gained in light of support and guidelines of the Supreme Leader, President Hassan Rouhani and devotion and unsparing efforts of the negotiating team. It belongs to Iranian nation at large. So, all of us have the duty to follow it up until it is fully implemented.’

Seif said that all the negotiating parties are committed to implement the JCPOA, adding that Iran has done all the necessary measures and the other party lifted all the sanctions and undertook to end its entirety.

After the JCPOA, Iran’s crude exports rose remarkably and all the country’s financial assets, which were to be released, are now accessible, said Seif, adding that now the forex market is in tranquility and the queue for allocation of foreign exchange for cargo imports no longer exists.
Seif said there are yet certain problems with transfer of forex resources of the Central Bank of Iran.

Asked to comment on banking relations with Asia and Europe, Seif said fortunately, the Asian and European banks have made positive gestures.

‘Of course, the Europeans’ approach for banking cooperation is different. One of the main reasons is the complexity of banking business and the time it takes for relations with new agents. The worries of the banks to work with Iran should be included.’

Certain countries, he added, positively deal with the status of Iranian banks and they have actually begun work with Iran, said the official, adding,
‘For instance, Central Bank of Italy, have launched appropriate banking cooperation with the Central Bank of Iran with regards to positive changes in relations between Iran and Italy, especially after visit of the president.’

Seif said Austrian banks have also shown much willingness for the purpose.

‘Expansion of relations with the European banks will gradually depend on suitable situations.’
Asked about international banking relations, Seif said banking mechanisms and brokerage banking relations are complex in their kind.

He said there is occasionally a large gap between Iranian banking methods and the international system.

Surprisingly, the extremely complex banking issues were the topics reviewed in recent IMF session, added Seif.

To a question about the post-JCPOA banking activities of Iran, Seif said the CBI and banking system have started eliminating the existing barriers after the JCPOA was implemented.

‘So, as you see banking relations are expanding gradually. An effective measure taken to clarify the case of the open items, deciding how to settle debts to the European export insurance institutes such as Italy’s Sace, German Hermes, French Koface, and Austrian Okabe. Having studied the issue and remove the paradox, our colleagues have launched necessary measures to pay and settle them. Soon, decisions will be made at the institutes about ranking of Iranian risk.’

He said that fortunately, all Iranian banks are linked to the SWIFT and messages are transferred and connections are possible.

Asked about the role of the American party to advance implementation of the JCP, the CBI chief said that the American party can play more serous and tangible role in this regard.

‘Of course, they have launched certain efforts, but, we believe they are not at all enough. The US should discharge the responsibility to remove ambiguity of banks to work with Iran.’

He said that under the current circumstances, the US should transparently remove concerns and ambiguities of the European banks.

‘Unfortunately, so far we have not witnessed any effective measure on part of Americans. So, we see that nothing has almost been done. So, they should take action more speedily and with more sensitivity through confidence-building measures so as to allay concerns of the financial institutions and banks to launch cooperation with Iranian banks.’

Asked about measures Iranian banking system should take, he said that concerning the new atmosphere, Iranian banking system should rapidly remove any defect and cases of non-correspondence with the world’s standard methods.

‘The country’s banking system lags behind the world’s latest standards due to sanctions; so, efforts should be made soon to remove the defects. Improvement of the standing of Iran in the spcial financial action group is one of the highly important moves that can be taken.’

Seif said the last move then can be taken is ratification of the Act of Campaign against Financial Support for Terrorism. However, discarding Iran’s name from the Financial Action Task Force list should be taken as an important development for setting up international banking relations.’