Opening of Afghanistan bank's branch in Iran's Chabahar requires better preparation
TEHRAN, Iran, Aug.12
Afghan banks plans to open branches in Chabahar of southeastern Iran; however, there are certain obstacles, Head of Iran-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce Hossei Salimi told Trend in an interview.
"The possibility of Afghanistan opening its Ghazanfar Bank branch in Chabahar Port has yet to be studied, and Iran's Arian Bank can not be active in Afghanistan since it is sanctioned," Salimi said.
"The necessary permits and license to open Ghazanfar Bank branch in Chabahar have been obtained, but any bank that wants to open branches abroad should follow special legal process and regulations that include accepting the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) instructions," the head of the chamber of commerce said.
"Iran is not a member of FATF, and that is the reason why Ghazanfar Bank branch has not been opened in Chabahar Port. Afghanistan has accepted FATF regulations, while Iran still is not a member of the organization," he added. "Financial transactions and Swift law depend on acceptance of, and compliance with, the FATF regulations; otherwise, there will be problems."
"Even if the opening of the Ghazanfar Bank's branch is approved, not all banking mechanisms including Swift would function; the Swift system is not operating in Iran due to the sanctions except for trading medicine and food," he said.
"Financial transactions with Afghanistan are currently being done via foreign exchange offices," Salimi noted. "Due to the difficulty of money transfer via banking system, it has been agreed that businessmen could import the bank notes to Iran. Businessmen should declare the volume of the imported foreign currency as their export revenue."
"However, there are still limitation for taking foreign currency out of the country; each individual can only leave Iran with 10,000 euros," he added.
Iran's Chabahar port is an important key to connect with Afghanistan since it has been exempted from the the US sanctions and thus, Iran can transfer export goods to Afghanistan.
The global money laundering watchdog has blacklisted Iran due to its failure to comply with the Palermo and Terrorist Financing Conventions in line with the FATF standards. Foreign businesses say Iran’s compliance with FATF rules is essential if the country wants to attract investors.