NEW YORK – Iran’s central bank is increasingly relying on help from Moscow to circumvent sanctions from the United States, according to Tehran’s state-run news agency.
The media outlet, Press TV, reported on Tuesday that top Iranian banking officials are finalizing an agreement with their Russian counterparts that would integrate their two nations’ bank card systems – “a strategy both hope would make them immune to the financial sanctions of the United States in the future,” the organization reported.
The effort comes two months after Iran signed another agreement with Russia’s BPC Banking Technologies to connect its financial network with global payment systems – a critical target of past US sanctions that have sought to penalize individuals and entities involved in Iran’s human rights abuses, its support for terrorism, its weapons proliferation, its ballistic missile work and – prior to 2015 – its nuclear program.
An integrated bank card system will allow Russians and Iranians to use their credit, ATM and debit cards in both countries.
Tehran authorized Iranian financial institutions to issue credit cards for the first time in the nation’s history in September of this year.
Davood Mohammad Beigi, the director of the payment system department of the Central Bank of Iran, previewed the agreement to Iran’s Mehr News Agency.
“At present, Iran has the closest ties with Russia in the field of international credit cards and good measures have been taken in technical terms,” Beigi said.
Russia’s Sputnik news agency also carried the state-run report, noting that Iran was previously “unable to integrate its banking sector internationally due to the Western sanctions, imposed over its nuclear program.”
An agreement reached over Iran’s nuclear program reached in 2015 calls on international powers to integrate Iran back into the global financial system in exchange for Tehran’s adherence to limits on its nuclear work.