Iran limits cash withdrawals from banks to prevent money laundering, inflation

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has imposed a cap on withdrawal of cash from banks amid toughening of rules on money laundering and also efforts to contain inflation.

29 July 2020
ID : 22496
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The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has imposed a cap on withdrawal of cash from banks amid toughening of rules on money laundering and also efforts to contain inflation.

A man walks past the Central Bank of Iran headquarters in Tehran, August 1, 2019. Photo: Reuters

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has imposed a cap on withdrawal of cash from banks amid toughening of rules on money laundering and also efforts to contain inflation.

The decree issued on July 28 by the CBI has ordered banks to observe a daily limit of 150 million rials ($652) for all customers, meaning that companies and legal entities would also be covered by the new law.

The decree which was issued by the CBI’s Department on Fighting Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing would be valid until the end of the current Iranian year (20 March 2021). It has nullified a previous cap imposed in early June which allowed daily cash withdrawals of up to 450 million rials (nearly $2,000).

The new policy is in line with a series of extensive measures implemented in recent years to clamp down on illegal practices in the Iranian banking system. However, experts say the new cap could also serve government policies meant to contain inflation. This comes as electronic transfers and e-payment systems are in wide use in Iran while banks charge small fees for their services.

The government has implemented various measures to contain prices as the economy is under a double pressure both because of the pandemic and a series of unilateral sanctions imposed by the US.  

Iran’s currency rial was again trading low against major foreign currencies on Tuesday despite a brief surge reported last week.

The rial closed 235,000 against the US dollar in unofficial market trade, down more than five percent compared to the previous day.

The CBI imposed another cap in early June on how much individuals can carry foreign cash amid efforts meant to stabilize the foreign currency market in the country.

Accordingly holding, carrying or exchanging foreign banknotes more than 10.000 euros would require documents from credit institutions or the customs office that would enable holders to keep the cash for six months.

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