According to the Swiss Federal Department of Finance, the financial dialog is part of the road map for strengthening bilateral relations agreed with Iran. This dialog involves among others the reinforced integration of Iran into the global financial system. To this end, Switzerland is helping namely with the implementation of international standards, for example in the area of banking regulation. The intention is also to optimize the framework conditions for financial services between Iran and Switzerland, which should not least offer Swiss export companies better financing options and greater security in their trade relations with Iran.
Most European banks continue to provide no assistance with transactions with Iran. They fear for good reason sanctions imposed by the USA, which continues to criminalize financial services in connection with Iran and – as the past has shown – does not shrink from punishing violations with high fines. Vis-à-vis foreign banks too insofar as they are active in the US market.
For Swiss companies, there are however other ways of securing their exports to Iran. First via the Swiss export risk insurance SERV.. And secondly via individual agreements.
Suhail El Obeid, Iran specialist at Switzerland Global Enterprise, recommends Swiss companies to firstly enquire of (potential) customers in Iran as to how they, for example, process payments with other foreign suppliers. Most Iranian buyers already had suitable solutions in place. In most cases, payments run via exchange bureaus whose dealings are not subject to the financial sanctions still imposed by the USA. Which is why most Iranian banks meanwhile have affiliated exchange bureaus via which financial transactions can be conducted in connection with other exchange bureaus in, for example, the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, some smaller private banks offer their services. It can however take several weeks or months before compliance is completed and the transaction can be processed.