Banks Still Shy of Iran

Tehran Nicolas Bremer
Who is he banking with these days?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    German banks are still reluctant to facilitate Iranian-German business, fearing legal trouble with the United States. The Iranian and German governments are both exerting pressure for them to open ties.

  • Facts


    • In July 2015, Iran made an agreement with major world powers to open its nuclear industry to inspection, in return for and end to most economic sanctions on the country.
    • Although Iran offers export opportunities for German business, banks in Germany are reluctant to get involved in Iranian deals, fearing legal consequences in the United States.
    • Even after the international deal, a number of unilateral U.S. economic sanctions on Iran remain in place.
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The German government is pleading with the country’s banks to return to Iran and do business.

The request came in a recent letter, seen by Handelsblatt, sent jointly to large German financial institutions by the federal economy and finance departments.

Most economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic were lifted last year in exchange for international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear industry. In theory, the deal agreed by Iran and major world powers should have been good news for German businesse, offering exporters a fresh new market with a foreign government ready to invest in infrastructure.

But even months after the lifting of most sanctions, there has been little movement on bilateral trade between Germany and Iran. One big problem, says the German government, is the attitude of German banks: Very few are yet willing to provide financing for export deals with Iran.

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