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By Golnar Motevalli
Iran is pushing for its banking sector to receive guaranteed and definitive sanctions relief in talks to restore the country’s nuclear deal with world powers.
“The lifting of sanctions against the central bank, Iranian banks, SWIFT, and any transfer of money between them and the main foreign correspondent banks, must be verified,” said Abdolnaser Hemmati, governor of the Central Bank of Iran. , in response to questions, referring to Iran’s restrictions on access to the Belgium-based global payments system.
Hemmati said central bank officials are directly involved in the talks to ensure that the removal of US sanctions is tangible. Negotiations resumed in Vienna on Friday in an attempt to reconstruct the 2015 agreement reached by Tehran and a group of six leading countries.
This deal was not enough to persuade European banks to work with Iran, even before the Trump administration abandoned it in 2018. Most of the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic’s atomic program have been lifted; but US sanctions related to other long-standing issues, such as Tehran’s ties to groups designated as terrorists by Washington, were not.
Global lenders feared breaching regulations and risking multi-million dollar fines, as banks in South Korea and the UK have seen at their expense. Iranian officials quickly complained that the residue of US sanctions was still hampering their ability to do banking with the world.