Iran CBI chief visits US, complains of sanctions

16 April, 2016
Source: Argus

The lifting of the nuclear-related sanctions has done "almost nothing" to reintegrate Iran in the global financial system, Iran Central Bank Governor Valiollah Seif said Friday in Washington.

"It was our expectation that after the nuclear deal Iran would be connected to the international economic system but it is not the case," Seif said during a discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations. Iran has difficulty accessing its foreign currency reserves frozen as a result of the nuclear-related sanctions, he said. "Our partners have not honored their obligations."

Seif, the highest-ranking Iranian official to visit Washington in decades, is attending the IMF and World Bank spring meetings.

The US Treasury says it is working with foreign regulators and banks, as well as with Iran, to ensure that Iran can access its funds abroad. Iran appreciates the actions that the US Treasury has taken, including guidelines for companies and meetings with foreign companies interested in doing business with Iran, but those measures have proven insufficient, Seif said.

The European banks do not have the courage to work with Iran because of the financial penalties the US has imposed in the past, Seif said.

The US needs to do more to enable Iran to reintegrate in the global economy, he said. "If it means more contacts with banks, if it means changes to regulations to allow access, allow u-turn [transactions], they need to do that." The so-called "u-turn transactions" are US dollar transactions by foreign banks on behalf of Iranian institutions that are indirectly processed through a US bank. The US Treasury has banned such deals since November 2008 and says it is not considering lifting the ban.

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