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Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd., a Chinese multinational banking company, plans to establish branches in Iran, an official with Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said.
The bank, which is said to be the largest in the world in terms of total assets and market capitalization, has requested to open branches in Iran’s Kish Trade Zone and in the mainland, IRIB news agency quoted Hussein Yaqoubi, CBI deputy for international affairs, as saying on Thursday.
Noting that international banks have expressed interest in business in Iran following the removal of sanctions, he said several banks from Lebanon, as well as from European countries, namely Austria and Italy, have sent requests to Tehran to open branches.Yaqoubi opine said that the CBI encourages the idea of setting up branches of foreign banks in Iran.
Foreign banks in Iran can start business in the FTZs with 100% ownership, partner with Iranians or purchase shares in local banks. But according to current laws investors can hold only up to 40% of shares in mainland banks.
The CBI earlier announced that the SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) restriction on local banks has been lifted.
Since March 2012, as part of measures to intensify the sanctions on Tehran due to its nuclear program, Iran’s banking system had been deprived of access to SWIFT.
Meanwhile, CBI Governor Valiollah Seif said that despite the removal of international sanctions, some Iranian banks are still on the red list.
In a joint statement on Jan. 16, the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced the implementation of Iran’s nuclear deal with the P5+1, and the removal of economic sanctions.
The statement said the EU confirms that the legal framework, providing for lifting of its nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions, had come into effect ending all US, UN, EU sanctions related to the nuclear dispute.