Iran denies banking troubles with Turkey

Financial Tribune – Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Valiollah Seif has denied reports about Iranians having any problems regarding their bank accounts in Turkey, stressing that banking relations between the two neighbors are normal.

“What’s being said about the closure of our bank accounts in Turkey is not true and we have no problems in this country,” Seif told Fars News Agency.

Conditions are “normal and positive” in Turkey, he emphasized.

In late May, a number of mainstream media reports suggested that bank accounts of Iranian nationals in Turkey are being closed following wrangles involving the Turkish Halkbank, a major state-owned lender.

Hossein Yaqoubi, director general of CBI for international affairs, announced at the time that “we have invited officials with the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey to travel to Iran to resolve difficulties facing Iranian citizens”.

However, Yaqoubi clarified that some of the troubles pertain to anti-money laundering regulations and changes in the management of Halkbank.

Iran-Turkey banking ties were overshadowed by the detention of a senior Halkbank official in the US in March for allegedly violating Iran sanctions.

Secretary-General of Iran-Turkey Commercial Council Jalal Ebrahimi had told Financial Tribune that only a few Turkish banks are closing Iranian accounts while it is not a state directive.

“The account blockages only pertain to foreign exchange accounts that mostly concern major traders who move a considerable amount of currency out of Turkey,” he added.

On banking hurdles with the UAE, the CBI governor said the “troubles originate from the past”, adding that “they created limitations that have yet to be cleared after the implementation of the nuclear accord”.

In the UAE, Seif said, the old situation persists and nothing has changed.

The CBI continues to follow up the matter, “but problems remain unsolved as a result of political matters between Iran and the UAE”, he added.

In late May, a source in Iran-Emirate Chamber of Commerce told Financial Tribune that Emirati banks have blocked the accounts of about 400 Iranian companies in the past few weeks and banks refuse to open accounts even for dual nationals.

However, Iranian business owners in the Emirates believe that it is not all about the nuclear accord and sanctions. Reportedly, things started to go south after the 2016 attack on the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran, which led to the souring of relations with a number of Arab states.