EghtesadOnline: Iran and Russia are still discussing integrating interbank transaction networks, Russia's Mir and Iran's Shetab, to ease transactions between the people and businesses of the two countries, an official with Iran's Trade Promotion Organization said.
"The current state of banking relations between the two countries is more satisfactory than with the other countries," Behrooz Olfat, head of TPO's Europe and North America Department told ILNA.
The Central Bank of Iran and commercial banks are sorting out the technicalities for integrating bank cards of the two countries.
According to the official, all commercial banks in Iran and several banks in Russia are involved in the initiative. "Easing the process of transactions for students, citizens and tourists is the main goal. It will also help address concerns of businesspeople to some extent."
The two sides are keen on conducting trade in national currencies, "Though the plan is facing hurdles mostly due to fluctuations in forex rates [in Iran]."
Integration of Iran and Russia bank cards will help develop tourism in Iran for Russian and other tourists with "common interests" while easing transfers for Iranian tourists going to Russia.
Iran first announced in mid-May 2017 that it had reached an agreement with Russia to integrate the bank card systems, which would facilitate payments and boost tourism.
The plan was originally slated for launch in August 2017. CBI officials had earlier announced that pilot transactions as part of the scheme showed acceptable levels of success but faced “several delays.”
The Interbank Information Transfer Network, known as Shetab, is the Iranian national interbank network established in 2002 for creating a uniform structure for the Iranian banking system. All banks are now connected to it.
The Russian national payment system called Mir, which translates as "World" or "Peace", was created on July 2014 with the goal of reducing risk from further financial sanctions by the West and cut reliance on western systems, such as Visa and MasterCard.
Integrating Iranian bank cards with foreign peers was on CBI's agenda as soon as the nuclear accord, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was implemented in January 2016.
However, most of the plans were put on hold following the imposition of tough economic, banking, shipping and other sanctions by the Donald Trump’s America.