20:44 GMT16 May 2021
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    Due to the lifting of international sanctions against Tehran, the country's largest national bank, Bank Melli Iran, is eager to start working with major Russian banks again soon, according to the chief of its Russian branch.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Bank Melli Iran (BMI), the Islamic Republic’s national bank which is the largest in the Middle East, hopes to restore correspondence and cooperation with major Russian banks soon, now that the sanctions have been lifted from Tehran, BMI's Russian branch Mir Business Bank’s chief said.

    Most of the large Russian banks have disconnected their relations with Iranian banks in the past few years amid Western sanctions against Tehran imposed over fears Iran was developing nuclear weapons. The sanctions were lifted earlier this year, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report in January stating that it had found no evidence of nuclear weapons development in Iran since 2009.

    "We have to restart our correspondent relationships with big banks. We have started this process now. Hopefully this relationship will be reestablished in a short period of time," Mohammad Hazzar told RIA Novosti.

    When asked whether he thought it was possible to establish correspondent relations between Russian and Iranian banks this year, Hazzar said "it is in the process; hopefully, within the next month it will start."

    According to Hazzar, BMI recently held negotiations with Russia’s Vneshtorgbank (VTB), Vneshekonombank (VEB), Gazprombank and Sberbank on the renewal of cooperation.

    BMI participates in the Russia-Iranian $5-billion credit deal, which envisages funds for Iranian projects mainly connected with Russian exports and services. Transfers and settlements for these projects are expected to be done by VEB through BMI.

    "Maybe we will have a mutual cooperation with VEB of implementing this credit line," Hazzar said in the interview.


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    Middle East, international sanctions, banks, cooperation, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran, Russia
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