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EghtesadOnline: The governor of the Central Bank of Iran discussed bilateral banking and monetary cooperation with senior Swiss and Turkish diplomats on Thursday.

In the meeting with Abdolnasser Hemmati, the Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner said his country wants normal banking and commercial ties with Iran.  

Leitner said his government has undertaken efforts to open a banking channel with Iran, Financial Tribune reported.

“The two countries have always had close ties and our banking relations should not be constrained by US sanctions,” the senior diplomat was quoted as saying by the CBI website.

Hemmati said Iran welcomes efforts by the Swiss to improve banking and commercial relations, adding that the improvement is in the interest of both countries. 

Pointing to the new banking channel, he said the initiative is a positive step that shows countries’ efforts to coordinate international financial and commercial policies based on mutual interest and not on external pressures.

“This procedure should be encouraged and fortified,” the top banker noted. 

He said Tehran will strive to build closer banking and trade ties with other countries based on national interests and regardless of the mounting hostiles of the United States administration. 

The Swiss government said last December it moving ahead with plans to unveil a humanitarian payment channel for Iran through complex negotiations with different parties in Iran, the US and Switzerland. 

The channel, which is separate from the European Union’s INSTEX, intends to cover medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and food – goods the US says are not subject to its new economic restrictions.

In a talk with the Financial Tribune in January, Ambassador Leitner said good progress had been made through multilateral talks but the channel is not operational yet. 

Leitner refused to give a time line as to when the channel would be up and running. However, he said Switzerland is busy working with Iranian authorities including the Health Ministry, the Central Bank of Iran and the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control and the US Department of State to put the channel into effect. 

INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) is a financial mechanism for trade with Iran. The mechanism, developed by France, Germany and the United Kingdom was created in February in accordance with commitments by European countries party to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.  

The instrument seeks to enable trade between Iran and European economic operators in spite of the US sanctions after President Donald Trump withdrew from the landmark nuclear agreement last May. 

The sanctions, aimed at paralyzing Iran’s economy, are also threaten other countries wanting to trade with Iran. 


Meeting With Turkish Ambassador 

In talks with the Turkish Ambassador Derya Ors,  Hemmati exchanged views on improving banking and commercial ties between the two neighbors. 

Pointing to two-way trade, the CBI head called for boosting bilateral banking and commercial exchanges. 

Hemmati referred to the recent meeting of the presidents of the two countries, recalling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s emphasis on boosting cooperation, facilitating banking collaboration and removing hurdles to closer economic ties.

Referring to Turkey’s commercial capacities, Hemmati rated the level of bilateral commerce as satisfactory but stressed that it still is far below the declared annual goal of $30 billion. 

“Given the existing capabilities, trade is expected to expand in the future,” he said. 

The Turkish envoy pointed to the deals between the foreign ministries of both countries on Wednesday, and called for enforcing the agreements.  

Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif met his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara.   Cavusoglu reiterated Ankara's opposition to the United States' economic pressures against Iran that have negatively affected the lives of its people. 

He added that Turkish ministers very recently conveyed their government’s concerns to the White House about the unfair restrictions against Iran during a recent visit.

Turkish Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak visited US earlier last week to attend a  meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and US president Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared


Kushner in Washington. April 15, 2019

Outlining the outcomes of the two-day tour, Zarif told reporters in Tehran the two sides agreed to improve cooperation in five areas, namely tariff cuts, promoting energy cooperation, banking relations, using national currencies of the two countries for trade exchange (instead of the USD) and developing a monetary channel similar to INSTEX.   

Hemmati in an Instagram post provided further details about his talks with the two ambassadors.  

“I informed the Swiss ambassador that Iran supports the opening of the banking channel for improving commercial and monetary ties based on mutual interest and regardless of US pressure,” he wrote. 

About his meeting with the Turkish envoy, he said he had expressed the disappointment of Iranian banks and traders regarding the unwillingness of Turkish banks to cooperate with Iranian companies. 

“I called for closer banking ties based on previous agreements reached by presidents of the two countries,” he wrote. 

Hemmati pointed to the $30 billion anticipated trade between the two neighbors and stressed that reaching the high target demands close banking and monetary relations. 


Envoys Iran Central Bank of Iran Swiss Turkish Top Banker