Iran’s central bank restricts foreigners’ access to banking services

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The file photo shows a view of the headquarters of the Central Bank of Iran in the capital Tehran.

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has confirmed reports that it has restricted the access of foreign nationals living in the country to various banking services.

A CBI spokesperson said in a tweet on Saturday that Iranian banks would only process transactions of up to 100 million rials ($305) per day from foreign nationals, including card transfers and payments. online shopping, until further notice.

Mostafa Ghamari Vafa said access would return to normal after obtaining and verifying data from relevant authorities on the identity of “legal foreign nationals”.

The tweet came after a report by Tasnim news agency on Saturday said Iran’s biggest lender, Bank Melli, had imposed severe restrictions on foreigners’ access to banking services.

The report published a copy of a recent Bank Melli circular which ordered its subsidiaries and branches in Iran to stop offering key services, including opening rial or foreign currency accounts or processing transfers. money to and from accounts held by foreign nationals.

He also quoted anonymous strangers saying their mobile banking apps had been blocked since the start of this week.

He said Iranian banks had imposed temporary restrictions on foreigners’ access to banking services in recent years, requiring them to hand over their immigration registration numbers.

The CBI has not specified any reason to limit foreigners’ access to banking services. However, Tasnim said the banks said the measure was aimed at combating money laundering.

Iran has tightened rules on immigrants and foreign nationals living in the country in recent months.

Majid Mirahmadi, deputy interior minister, said on Friday that Iran’s human trafficking laws had been tightened while warning that any Iranian employer recruiting illegal immigrants faces up to six months in prison in addition to heavy penalties. fines.

Iran’s airlines union also announced last week that it had started charging foreigners in US dollars for domestic flights.

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