Iran’s SEPAM replaces SWIFT in banking exchanges with Russia: CBI chief

Tasnim – Iran’s financial telecommunications system, known as SEPAM, has replaced the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) in the country’s financial transactions with Russia, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said.

In remarks released on Tuesday, Abdonnaser Hemmati said banking ties between Iran and Russia have been established through Russia’s financial messaging system and Iran’s SEPAM without any need for SWIFT.

The CBI chief also referred to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of the fifth trilateral summit of Iran, Russia and Turkey in Ankara on Monday evening and said the banking ties between Tehran and Moscow were also discussed at the meeting.

He further pointed to Iran’s recent membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and said SEPAM can be used for financial exchanges with the EAEU member states and help boost the trade ties.

Back in June, the Iranian parliament ratified an agreement that allows the administration to join a free trade zone with the EAEU countries.

The agreement, signed in Kazakhstan in May 2018, sets the main rules of trade between the EAEU, Iran and those of the World Trade Organization (WTO), of which Iran is not a member.

The free trade zone is planned to be in effect for four years, under which the EAEU will grant Iran tariff concessions on more than 500 items.

Russia’s State Duma and the Federation Council had ratified the agreement to establish Iran-EAEU free trade zone in November 2018.

The Eurasian Economic Union includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. Iran and EAEU members started to develop the agreement on the free trade in 2015, though the signing was postponed several times.