Foreign Banks Open in Iran, Central Bank Official Says

Foreign banks are opening up representative offices in Iran as the country seeks to boost investment after reaching an international sanctions deal last year.

Oman’s Bank Muscat SAOG and India’s UCO Bank Ltd. are in the process of establishing a presence in Tehran, Central Bank Vice Governor Peyman Ghorbani said Tuesday in an interview. He declined to give further details. South Korea’s Woori Bank established an office in the nation earlier this year.

Major European banks have kept their distance from Iran, despite its nuclear deal with world powers, for fear of running foul of remaining U.S. sanctions. Central bank governor Valiollah Seif said progress with foreign banks has been “slow,” the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported in September.

Austrian and Iranian bankers met in Vienna in September to discuss the resumption of trade financing, people with knowledge of the plans said at the time. Austria’s top three banks, Erste Group Bank AG, UniCredit Bank Austria AG and Raiffeisen Bank International AG would be among the participants, according to the people, who asked not to be identified.

(Corrects first, second paragraph to show Woori already has presence in Iran.)
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