Iran-Swiss banking ties to increase ’soon’: CBI

The two countries see a rise in their banking relations after the Swiss humanitarian trade channel becomes finally functional to allow the trade of non-sanctioned humanitarian goods.

27 April 2019
ID : 21944
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The two countries see a rise in their banking relations after the Swiss humanitarian trade channel becomes finally functional to allow the trade of non-sanctioned humanitarian goods.

Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Governor Abdolanser Hemmati, left, holds talks with Swiss Ambassador to Iran Markus Leitner at CBI HQ in Tehran on April 18. CENTRAL BANK OF IRAN

Iran says banking ties with Switzerland will increase soon as Bern is preparing a humanitarian trade channel with Tehran in the wake of US sanctions, according to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). 

‘We will soon witness a rise in banking exchanges between the two countries,” CBI Governor Abdolanser Hemmati told Switzerland Ambassador to Iran Markus Leitner during a meeting at the CBI headquarters in Tehran on 18 April.

Hemmati added that Switzerland has followed up on the necessary works to resume a banking channel between the European country and Iran.

He was referring to efforts by the Swiss government to put in place a special trade channel aimed at easing the trade of humanitarian goods with Iran such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices that are exempt from the US sanctions but have been hugely affected due to the punitive measures that have strangulated banking ties with Iran.

Top Iranian banker said efforst to accelerate the opening of such channel should be supported as it shows how Switzerland and Iran move along their own interests regardless of “foreign pressures”.

In a tweet, the Swiss Embassy described the meeting as “good exchange” about the trade channel and forex availability.

@SwissEmbassyIr tweet following a meeting with CBI Governor Hemmat in Tehran on 18 April

Earlier in January, Sharif Nezam-Mafi, Iran-Switzerland Joint Chamber of Commerce President, told Iran Chamber Newsroom that the mechanism is ready but that it awaits Iranian capital. He had previously said the channel could be in place by mid-January.

Watch video: Sharif Nezam-Mafi talks about Swiss humanitarian payment channel

60% of Swiss exports to Iran are comprised of medicine and medical equipment, that’s why the channel is very important for Iran to allow the uninterrupted flow of necessary drugs to the country.

Early this year, head of Epilepsy patients Association in Iran said the renewed unilateral US sanctions have caused shortage of some medicine. “Some of the patients suffer from epilepsy that is resistant to treatment and must consume new foreign medicine but unfortunately the sanctions have caused shortage in such drugs,” regretted Darius Nasabi Tehrani, Iranian Epilepsy Association Chief Executive.

The Swiss payment channel will be a separate financial transaction system with Iran that will run in parallel with Europe’s so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) that’s not been functional so far.

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