World Bank to award loans to Iran’s SMEs

Iran said on Tuesday that it has started preliminary talks to obtain loans worth a total of at least $1.5 billion from the World Bank for the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 

Mohsen Jalalpour, the president of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines, has been quoted by the media as saying that a team from the World Bank had visited the Chamber to discuss providing loans to Iranian SMEs.

Jalalpour said the visiting team had been briefed on the capabilities of Iranian businesses, adding that follow-up discussions will be held when another senior delegation from the World Bank visits the Islamic Republic in the future.

The official further emphasized that the value of the loans could increase to a collective of maximum $2 billion.

The move could be a major breakthrough for Iran. This is because the World Bank had already indicated reluctance to reengage in a country it had already stopped all new projects since 2005 in compliance with the sanctions.

The return of the World Bank to Iran could also motivate global financial enterprises to approach the country – what they had been refusing to do so far over fears that they would fall afoul of the remaining primary US sanctions.

International businesses have been recently complaining that the banks are refusing to fund their projects in Iran over fears of the same US sanctions.

The United States, the largest shareholder of the World Bank, has been trying to counter those complaints by giving assurances that they will not be punished in doing business with Iran as long as they avoid sanctioned transactions with the Islamic Republic.

By Press TV