Foreign banks block $1.5 bln of Iran’s assets

Photo: Foreign banks block $1.5 bln of Iran’s assets / Iran

Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar.26

By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

Foreign banks have blocked $1.5 billion of Iran's assets, the Mehr News Agency quoted Mehdi Davatgari, the member of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, as saying on March 29.

The money has been deposited to banks in Oman and Switzerland, he said, adding that the banks do not transfer the money to the country.

This is against the Geneva accord, he noted.

Iran has about $100 billion in foreign exchange assets around the world, of which it will be able to access $4.2 billion under last year's nuclear agreement with six world powers, a senior U.S. administration official said on January 17, Reuters reported.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the money and assets were held in various countries and that a significant proportion was Iran's oil revenue. Financial and other sanctions have meant Tehran has not had free access to spend it.

The governor of Iran's central bank said in mid-2012 it had built up $150 billion in foreign reserves to protect itself against the tightening punitive measures on the country.

Under the November 24, the six-month accord between Iran and the major powers, Tehran will receive limited sanctions relief, which the U.S. estimates to be worth about $7 billion, in return for curbing its disputed nuclear program.

Of this amount, $4.2 billion is in the form of access to currently blocked Iranian revenue held abroad.

The U.S. official said Iran would identify from where it wants to take the funds and that Western authorities would facilitate their transfer in a series of installments during the next half year, depending on the Islamic Republic carrying out its part of the deal.

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