Allow SL-Iran trade to be settled in euros: Iranian ambassador tells local banks


M. Zaeri Amirani, Ambassador of Iran to Sri Lanka
- Pic - : Saman Abeysiriwardane

by Sanath Nanayakkare

Sri Lankan banks should come forward to facilitate trade with Iran in euros instead of dollars as local banks are still under the impression that some US sanctions are continuing to be in place and obstructing payments from Tehran, M. Zaeri Amirani, Iranian ambassador to Sri Lanka said.

The ambassador made this remark on Wednesday while speaking at the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) on the theme, "Bilateral Trade between Sri Lanka & Iran", where local business people and a few Iranian investors who have business interests in Sri Lanka were present.

"This is only a concern of the banks that they would face problems if they facilitated transactions with Iran. Well, in the context of this concern, the euro channel of trading is available. Iran is trading with the EU and many other countries in euro and there has been no issue with that. As banking is crucial for trade, it is a responsibility of the banks to make the euro channel available", the ambassador emphasized.

"Negative people with a short-sighted approach would present problems for every solution. It won't help enhance our trade relations. Innovative, forward-focused thinking is an absolute necessity to increase the two countries' bilateral trade. That's the way forward to gain from our capacities and opportunities. From the time I took up my assignment as ambassador to Sri Lanka, I've received the fullest cooperation and I'm determined to take our historic relations to new heights, Zaeri Amirani assured.

Dr. Hussein Bamiri, Commercial Attache of the embassy of Iran pointed out with data that bilateral trade volumes between 2009 and 2016 had fluctuated from time to time, always in favour of Iran.

At present Iran and Sri Lanka do not have banking relations. But at the meeting which was held on August 19, between Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, both emphasized the need to develop banking relations between the countries.

"We hope that the establishing of banking relations between Sri Lanka and Iran would be possible towards the end of this year or in the beginning of next year, Hussein Bamiri said.

In September, the US extended sanctions relief to Iran under the countries’ nuclear deal, but repeated accusations that Tehran was violating the spirit of the agreement. President Donald Trump, who has threatened to tear up the 2015 accord said Iran had "violated so many different elements" of the deal, under which the US agreed to waive numerous sanctions on the Islamic republic. The waiver has to be reviewed every 120 days.

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