Why big Euro Banks are Reluctant to Return to Iran

He said that OFAC could address this by issuing “a general license that would permit foreign financial institutions to involve US-person employees” in legal Iran-related business by non-US banks.

The Barack Obama administration insists that it is doing everything it is obligated to do to implement the JCPOA.

Jarrett Blanc, the State Department’s deputy lead coordinator for Iran nuclear implementation and who is attending the Europe-Iran Forum in Zurich, told Al-Monitor, “We are being forward-leaning” on these issues but that the US government cannot order banks to take actions that they view as risky.

Iran’s economy is projected to grow by 4-5% this year, the highest rate in the region but still below its target of 8%. Iranian banks are saddled with a large number of nonperforming loans that are a legacy of the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who encouraged the banks to lend with abandon to dodgy entities when oil prices were at record highs.

Beheshti Rouy said that these loans are being rescheduled and the Iranian Central Bank is now requiring Iran’s financial institutions to keep 13% of their deposits with the Central Bank at an interest rate of only 1%. While the banks, which are still obliged to pay double-digit interest rates to their depositors, chafe at this requirement, Beheshti Rouy said it was actually a good safeguard for the future health of the Iranian banking system.

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