Iran says it is preparing to launch a financial hub in its southern Qeshm Island – a plan which is expected to facilitate the country’s overseas financial transactions currently under strains as a result of the remaining US sanctions.
Farhad Taghizadeh-Hesary, a senior adviser to the Qeshm Investment and Development Company, has been quoted by the media as saying that the plan is meant to help the country attract financial institutions to the Iranian market.
“The aim for this financial center isn’t to look onto Qeshm, but to be a window onto the mainland,” Taghizadeh-Hesary has told Bloomberg.
He has added that banks from China, Russia and Japan have started negotiations to establish representation offices in the area.
“We have lots of feasible projects in different sectors that are interesting to foreign investors. However, one of the bottlenecks is the lack of access to cheap finance. The financial center can help us access cheap finance,” Taghizadeh-Hesary added.
Despite the January removal of economic sanctions against Iran, global enterprises are still complaining that trade with the country is still difficult as a result of lingering fears of US punitive actions.
A key obstacle which is specifically affecting business with Iran is a restriction for American banks to handle any dollar transaction with Iran – what is already discouraging international businesses from approaching the Iranian market given that dollar payments will eventually have to be cleared in the US banking system.
Iran has repeatedly criticized the United States for keeping the dollar restrictions. The country’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that Washington must do more to encourage banks to do business with Iran following the lifting of sanctions.