“US blockage of $3.5bn Iranian assets banditry”
Iran’s foreign minister described confiscation of 3.5 billion dollars of CBI assets by the US as an instance of international banditry.
Addressing the 4th Iran-Europe Trade and Banking Conference in Tehran, Mohammad Javad Zarif said cruel sanctions primarily sought to damage Iran’s banking system, as the key infrastructure to economic growth, and limit its connections with the world.
He said sanctions interfered with the country’s foreign trade and blocked access to short-term financial resources which, in turn, led to several deleterious consequences like closure foreign financing and grants by international institutions on the one hand and rapid escalating of transaction costs and unprecedented expansion of corruption due to the lack of transparency, freezing of foreign exchange sources and high inflation rates on the other.
“Due to mismanagement of the previous government, according to some banking sources, only in one case, about 35 billion US dollars of foreign exchange reserves disappeared while only a portion of that figure became manifested in corruption case,” he continued.
Iran’s FM said another instance was the seizure of about two billion dollars and blocking of over 1.5 billion dollars of the assets belonging to Central Bank of Iran by the United States who has clearly committed an international piracy. Zarif believed that these adverse outcomes could have been prevented if the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) had been inked earlier.
“Tough nuclear negotiations led to removal of legal barriers to the country’s monetary and financial system although America’s breach of commitments has prevented a facile return to normal relations,” he underlined.
Mohammad Javad Zarif recalled that only 100 days after the incumbent government took office, 700 million dollars of Iran’s much-needed financial resources, which had remained blocked due to sanctions, were released. Later, tens of billion dollars of frozen assets became accessible following JCPOA implementation. Today, oil revenues are directly received by Central Bank of Iran. The country in now proud of being the most importance barrier against spread of extremism in the region despite being a victim of terrorism itself. We are also among the leading countries in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
Iran’s minister of foreign affairs said the banking network in now connected to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). He noted that presence of European banking activists at the conference indicated reflected the improvement in conditions. He went on to enumerate other positive outcomes of the JCPOA in the country’s banking system which can now play an effective role in meeting objectives of Resistance Economy.
“Recent year measures by the US has imposed huge fines against international banks and although not all of them can be attributed to their ties with Iran, international banks are exercising excessive caution for initiating transactions with Iranian counterpart mainly due to remarks made by the new US government.
Zarif pointed to age-old relations between Iran and Europe and called for an immediate return to normal conditions in economic cooperation between the two sides. He said these relations could cover a wide range of sectors from oil and gas to automaking which all require proper and close banking bonds.
“Unfair sanctions caused a lag in Iran’s banking system as regards compliance with new international standards in transparency sector,” underscored FM Zarif noting that European banks could assist in upgrading Iran’s banking system.
At the end of his remarks, the senior official said Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs would spare no effort in assisting the private sector and the country’s foreign trade partners as clear plans have been defined in the field of facilitating entry of foreign capital and tourists, non-oil exports, export engineering and technical services as well as deployment of skilled labor. We plan to exploit potentials of JCPOA to strengthen Iranian economy with a focus on Resistance Economy, production and employment.