EIB Warns Risks of Financial Cooperation with Iran

EIB Warns Risks of Financial Cooperation with Iran

Thursday, 19 July, 2018 - 11:15
London – Asharq Al-Awsat
The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) global operations would be put at risk if it were to invest in Iran, its president said on Wednesday, casting doubt on the EU’s ability to deliver on its pledge to save a nuclear deal with Tehran that Washington has abandoned.

Reuters reported EIB President Werner Hoyer as saying that while he supported EU efforts to keep alive the 2015 deal which curbed Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, Iran is a place “where we cannot play an active role.”

The European Union has agreed to add Iran to the list of countries with which the Luxembourg-based EIB does business from August, a spokesman for the EU executive said the change “does not force the EIB to begin lending.”

The EIB will only do business there if it receives approval from its board of governors, which are the finance ministers of the EU’s 28 member states, and on the basis of finding suitable projects to invest in. Central bank transfers to Iran to pay for oil imports and avoid U.S. sanctions, a measure proposed by the European Commission in May, are still under discussion, diplomats said.

Meanwhile, only a few businesses have taken advantage of euro-denominated financing set up by European countries to trade with Iran.

Three European countries (Germany, France and Britain) want to open a financial channel that keeps the accounts in Iran’s central bank of Iran going, the Wall Street Journal reported. However, European sources conditioned the establishment of such a channel with Iran approving on joining the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering Control (FATF).

“There is no European bank which is presently able to do business in and with Iran,” Hoyer told reporters.

“We have to take note of the fact that we would risk the business model of the bank if we were active in Iran.”

The EIB currently steers clear of engaging in jurisdictions listed as high-risk under the FATF, a global group of government anti-money-laundering agencies. That includes Iran.

Editor Picks