Iran banks to set up shop in Germany
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Iran banks to set up shop in Germany

Branches to open in Munich as Islamic Republic seeks ways to bypass barriers to international financing

The Iranian Central Bank in Tehran. (CC BY-SA Ensie & Matthias, Flickr)
The Iranian Central Bank in Tehran. (CC BY-SA Ensie & Matthias, Flickr)

Two private Iranian banks will open branches in Munich, officials confirmed Monday, as the Islamic Republic looks for ways around ongoing barriers to international financing.

The central bank announced late on Sunday that Middle East Bank and Sina Bank would set up in Germany’s Bavaria state, following a visit by local economy minister Ilse Aigner to Tehran.

“This is a first since the revolution of 1979. We hope to open our branch by the end of 2016,” Parviz Aghili, director general of Middle East Bank, told AFP.

Iran’s central bank is also now working with its German counterpart and several banks in the country to sell oil exports in euros.

“The central bank is focused on developing banking relations with other countries,” said Akbar Komeijani, vice president of the central bank, in a statement on its website.

Germany was one of Iran’s main trading partners until international sanctions were imposed in 2012 over its nuclear program.

Despite sanctions being lifted under last year’s nuclear deal, major European banks have been reluctant to work with Iran, fearing continuing US non-nuclear sanctions.

Only a few small European banks without ties to the US have been willing to work with Iran, meaning that major trade deals have been stalled.

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