Iranian banking industry wants guaranteed sanctions relief

TEHRAN, May 10 (MNA) – During the ongoing JCPOA talks in Vienna, Iran is pushing for its banking industry to be given guaranteed and conclusive sanctions relief.

Iran is pushing for its banking industry to be given guaranteed and conclusive sanctions relief at talks to restore the country’s nuclear deal with world powers, Bloomberg reported.

“The removal of sanctions against the central bank, Iranian banks, SWIFT, and any money transfer between them and major foreign correspondent banks, needs to be verified,” Abdolnaser Hemmati, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, said in answers to written questions, referring to restrictions on Iranian access to the Belgium-based global payments system.

Hemmati said that officials from the central bank are directly involved in the talks to ensure US sanctions removal is tangible. Negotiations resumed in Vienna on Friday in an attempt to rebuild the 2015 agreement struck by Tehran and a group of six leading nations.

That accord wasn’t enough to persuade European banks to work with Iran, even before the Trump administration abandoned it in 2018, Bloomberg wrote.

Global lenders feared running afoul of regulations and risking multi-million dollar fines, as banks in South Korea and the US have found to their cost. Iranian officials soon complained that the residue of US sanctions was still harming their ability to bank with the world.

In February, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the country’s diplomats that they must avoid a similar trap this time around. American sanctions must be removed “in practice, not just in words or on paper,” the 82-year-old cleric said.

“We will make the verification in our own ways,” Hemmati said. “Personally, I am hopeful about the trend of negotiations.”

Iran says US sanctions have damaged its ability to import non-sanctioned goods like food and medicines and effectively handle the coronavirus outbreak. Washington has also stood in the way of Iran’s $5 billion loan application to the International Monetary Fund.

Bloomberg added that Pressure’s also being applied in Washington. On Thursday, Wall Street firms urged the Biden administration to ease the burden in complying with the flood of sanctions that Trump levied toward adversaries, including Iran.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions estimates that financial institutions in the U.S. and Canada spent $42 billion in 2020 on financial crime compliance - which includes sanctions and anti-money laundering efforts.

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