IRAN HAS $100BN IN FOREIGN EXCHANGE ASSETS AROUND THE WORLD: OFFICIAL
January 17, 2014 – 19:25 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – Iran has about $100 billion in foreign exchange
assets around the world, of which it will be able to access $4.2
billion under last year’s nuclear agreement with six world powers, a
senior U.S. administration official said on Friday, Jan 17, according
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the money
and assets were held in various countries and that a significant
proportion was Iran’s oil revenue. Financial and other sanctions have
meant Tehran has not had free access to spend it.
The governor of Iran’s central bank said in mid-2012 it had built up
$150 billion in foreign reserves to protect itself against tightening
punitive measures on the country.
Under the November 24, six-month accord between Iran and the major
powers, Tehran will receive limited sanctions relief, which the U.S.
estimates to be worth about $7 billion, in return for curbing its
disputed nuclear program.
Of this amount, $4.2 billion is in the form of access to currently
blocked Iranian revenue held abroad.
According to Reuters, the U.S. official said Iran would identify
from where it wants to take the funds and that Western authorities
would facilitate their transfer in a series of installments during
the next half year, depending on the Islamic Republic carrying out
its part of the deal.
The White House also referred to the $100 billion figure in a summary
it released on Thursday of the nuclear agreement between Iran and
the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.
The value of the sanctions relief was a “small fraction” of this
amount of Iranian foreign exchange holdings that will continue to be
blocked or restricted, it said.
The interim accord – meant to buy time for negotiations on a final
settlement of the decade-old nuclear dispute – also pauses Western
efforts to cut further Iran’s oil exports, which Washington says
have plunged by around 60 percent to 1 million barrels per day since
The U.S. official made clear that the volume would not increase
if the oil price were to fall during the six-month agreement, the
implementation of which is due to start on Monday.
Japan, South Korea, China, India, Taiwan, and Turkey are still
importing Iranian oil, and the official said that if another country
started purchasing crude from Tehran it would likely violate U.S. law.
The administration official also underlined the U.S. view that
businesses should not rush to return to Iran, saying the sanctions
relief under the Geneva agreement was both limited and reversible.
European companies are sizing up the potential of an end to the
economic isolation of Iran, attracted by an urgent need to overhaul
its creaking infrastructure, a young population of 76 million and
major oil and gas reserves.
Reuters said it reported this week that Belgian chemical firm
Tessenderlo will ship fertilizer to Iran within weeks as the easing
of Western financial sanctions has helped Tehran complete its first
potash tender purchase in two years.
Sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies over Iran’s
controversial nuclear program did not ban the supplying of fertilizer
to the country.
But measures that have isolated Tehran from most of the global banking
system have significantly limited its trading, shipping and payments
over the past two years.
The administration official said it would not be good business to
begin re-engaging with Iran now, because sanctions still made it very
difficult to carry out transactions with the country and receive or
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress