Ira­nian banks re­con­nected to global pay­ments net­work

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

DUBAI: Global trans­ac­tion net­work SWIFT has re­con­nected a num­ber of Ira­nian banks to its sys­tem, al­low­ing them to re­sume cross-bor­der trans­ac­tions with for­eign banks af­ter the lift­ing of sanc­tions on Tehran, a SWIFT of­fi­cial said.

Ira­nian banks were dis­con­nected from Bel­gium-based SWIFT, the So­ci­ety for World­wide In­ter­bank Fi­nan­cial Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion, in March 2012 as in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions against Tehran over its dis­puted nu­clear pro­gramme tight­ened.

The sys­tem is used to trans­mit pay­ments and let­ters of credit and Iran's ex­clu­sion se­verely dam­aged its abil­ity to con­duct for­eign trade and money trans­fers. Un­der a nu­clear deal reached be­tween Tehran and world pow­ers, most sanc­tions against the coun­try were re­moved last month. "SWIFT has com­pleted the on-board­ing process for th­ese banks, and can con­firm that they have now been re­con­nected to SWIFT," said Onur Ozan, a coun­try man­ager at SWIFT.

"We will con­tinue to work with the re­main­der of the en­ti­ties that have ap­plied to re­join SWIFT to en­sure their smooth re­con­nec­tion," Ozan said in a state­ment car­ried on the Ira­nian cen­tral bank's web­site on Wed­nes­day. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for SWIFT con­firmed that the state­ment was ac­cu­rate.

Iran's re­con­nec­tion to SWIFT be­came a political is­sue in the last few weeks, with some con­ser­va­tive par­lia­men­tary crit­ics of Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani com­plain­ing that the re­con­nec­tion was not oc­cur­ring fast enough and that the nu­clear deal was not de­liv­er­ing enough ben­e­fits to the coun­try.

Ozan did not give de­tails of the Ira­nian banks that had been re­con­nected. The cen­tral bank said in its state­ment that all banks not cov­ered by the re­main­ing sanc­tions had now been con­nected, in­clud­ing it­self, but that some of the banks' for­eign sub­sidiaries and branches were still work­ing on it. Al­though SWIFT's ac­tion will make it eas­ier to move money into and out of Iran, many for­eign banks are ex­pected to re­main wary of do­ing busi­ness with the coun­try, at least ini­tially.

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