German banks to open branches in Iran
Iran says it has reached a preliminary agreement with certain German banks to open branches in the country. Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), has told the media that the agreement was reached during the recent visit to Iran by German Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel.
However, he did not which specific brand will be involved in this.
Seif has emphasized that no restrictions exist for foreign banks to operate in Iran. He added that foreign banks are free to open branches in Iran’s free trade zones.
“International investors can establish banks in Iran in cooperation with domestic investors,” the CBI chief said.
“Nevertheless, their investment should not exceed 40 percent [of the bank’s total assets].”
Seif further emphasized that investors have voiced interest to enter the Iranian financial market.
This, he said, has been already been acknowledged through the frequent visits to Tehran by foreign trade delegations.
Gabriel arrived in Iran on July 19 at the head of a major delegation to discuss trade ties with Iranian officials.
He told reporters upon arrival in Tehran that he had brought the best German companies which enjoyed very good relations with Iran for years and tried to maintain those ties even under the sanctions regime.
“We are interested in restoring banking relations with Iran as soon as possible after the removal of the sanctions,” he said.
Gabriel’s visit came a few days after Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany – announced a historic breakthrough over the Iranian nuclear energy program.
The breakthrough – that was made public in Vienna on July 14 after a series of intense marathon talks – envisages certain restrictions on the Iranian nuclear energy program in return for the removal of economic sanctions against the country.
This has already triggered a wave of diplomatic visits to Tehran in what many see is meant to prepare the groundwork for the return of foreign companies to Iran in a post-sanctions era.