UK banks to study Iran sanctions impacts
The British media said on Thursday that the country’s biggest banks plan to study the implications involved in the removal of sanctions against Iran.
The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) has accordingly agreed to form a working group to examine the issue, Sky News reported.
The initiative was adopted at a BBA board meeting last week and it follows concerns by investors toward US punitive measures against investments in the country.
It also follows pressures from the government on the banks to expand links with Tehran ahead of a trade visit to Iran led by Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary, which is due to take place next month.
But Sky News has emphasized in its report that many BBA members, which include UK-headquartered and international banks with operations in Britain, have expressed unease about forging closer ties with Iran.
Jes Staley, the Barclays chief executive, responded to a letter from Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year on the issue in which he referred to “the considerable divergence in both approach and intention between the EU, which is taking a positive approach towards Iran, and the US, where primary sanctions remain in place, thereby prohibiting US individuals or entities from engaging directly or indirectly in business related to Iran”.
Cameron had accused Barclays of operating “in opposition to the policy of the UK government” by declining to process customers’ payments from Iranian entities.”
UK-based exporters have complained that they have already slipped behind their competitors from France, Germany and Italy.
The anxiety among some London-based bankers stems from both US lenders and American executives who work for British and other international companies.
Banks including Standard Chartered have been fined heavily for sanctions breaches in recent years.