EghtesadOnline: Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Masoud Karbasian said the recent move by Chinese banks to close Iranian nationals’ accounts is “unreasonable”, saying that Iran is seriously seeking an end to the predicament.
“It is unreasonable because fortunately the [Iranian] government is vigorously following up on the implementation of all the points related to the Financial Action Task Force while also considering national interests in cooperation with other executive entities,” the minister was quoted as saying by IBENA at the latest dialogue council of the government and private sector at the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
The issue began a few months ago, when a number of Chinese banks closed Iranian accounts while citing the implementation of intensified FATF regulations as the reason. But after several rounds of negotiations between Iranian and Chinese officials, the matter seemed to have died down only to rekindle just days ago with reports emerging of Iranian students being the main target of account closures.
The Iranian Embassy in Beijing has also vowed to follow up on the issue, noting that FATF regulations are still being mentioned as the reason behind the account closures, with Chinese lenders claiming that the closures are not exclusive to Iranians, according to Financial Tribune.
In his meeting with private sector representatives on Tuesday, Karbasian stressed that Iran must not let other countries use FATF as an excuse to cause trouble.
“The Foreign Ministry is strongly pursuing the matter,” he said, adding that previous Chinese banking troubles have been resolved, with the Foreign Ministry now focused specifically on challenges facing Iranian students in China.
A top private sector figure also called on China to resolve the banking hurdles, saying they are improper, especially considering that the Asian superpower is Iran’s biggest trade partner both in imports and exports.
“The diplomatic apparatus must immediately react to this issue and in light of the high volume of trade between the two countries, call for a halt to the limitations,” Seyyed Hossein Salimi was quoted as saying by the official news portal of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
“Even if the limitations are caused by sanctions, at least the students must be exempted,” added Salimi, who is a member of TCCIM’s board of representatives.
Iranian officials, affiliated to both the public and private sectors, have repeatedly disavowed claims that the account closures are a result of sanctions, saying they mainly relate to anti-money laundering concerns.
China was Iran’s foremost trade partner in the previous fiscal year and imported $8.37 billion worth of Iranian products while exporting $10.75 billion worth of manufactured goods to Iran.