Tehran: Leaving Banks not Welcome Back

A033458222.jpgWestern banks withdrawing from Iran would not be welcome back, the Islamic Republic’s central bank governor warned on Tuesday, calling their behavior unprofessional and immoral. Pressured by a US-led campaign to isolate Tehran over its nuclear program, many bank majors including Switzerland’s UBS AG and Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG have decided to cut some or all of their ties with Iran.

Iranian Central Bank governor Tahmasb Mazaheri, who took over this month after his predecessor resigned, said a limited number of banks had decided to reduce their dealings with Iranian companies, citing political pressure.

“This decision was unprofessional, unacceptable, immoral and contrary to banking rules,” he told a news conference.

He said Iran, the world’s fourth-largest oil producer with a population of 70 million people, could not force them to stay.

But, Mazaheri said, Tehran could “write to them that the Iranian nation has a good memory” and it would not forget their behavior.

“Sooner or later this situation will pass and those who treated us like this will not have a position in our economic ties …. They better forget Iran and the benefits from working with Iran.”

Some Western bankers have said they are reluctantly reducing or cutting business with Iran because of pressure from the United States, and fear they may not get such easy access again to what is for many a profitable market.

The United States has imposed sanctions against two Iranian banks. Washington is also urging Western companies and banks not to invest in Iran.

Iran has made windfall gains from the high oil price in recent years.

Mazaheri brushed aside the impact of UN Security Council sanctions on his country’s economy.

“We are not worried,” he said. “We are ready to confront different conditions.”

Iran continues to show economic growth of around 5 percent per year.

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