TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Fresh indications have appeared that show Iran and Russia are moving closer to an ambitious plan to integrate their banking systems – a strategy both hope would make them immune to the financial sanctions of the United States in the future.
A top banking official in Tehran was quoted by media as saying that the Islamic Republic was already conducting tests with Russia to link the band card systems of the two countries and were already in talks to finalize an agreement between their central banks to overcome the related legal issues.
The announcement was made by Davood Mohammad Beigi, the Director of the Payment System department of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), as quoted by media.
"At present, Iran has the closest ties with Russia in the field of international credit cards and good measures have been taken in technical terms,” Beigi said. “In recent months, tests have been carried out less regularly due to some legal problems. In order for any relations to be established, the two countries and their respective central banks need to reach agreements," he was quoted as saying by Iran’s Mehr News Agency in a report also carried by Russia’s Sputnik news agency.
The countries are expected to cooperate on magnetic cards, the official added.
"They will be normal debit cards which can be used by the customer abroad. With respect to the rate agreed upon between the customer and the bank, the bank pays the amount in a foreign currency and will withdraw the equal amount in Rial from the person’s bank account," Beigi explained, while answering the question on whether the cooperation involves the currency cards or the standard ones.
Iran’s CBI announced through a statement in May that the Islamic Republic and Russia had agreed to integrate their bank card systems – a move that officials said would enable Iranian and Russian citizens to use their cards in each other's countries.
"Iranian citizens who have a Shetab [Iran's national payment system] card and those who have Russian [Mir] cards will be able to use ATMs in both countries,” the bank announced in its statement.
On a related front, Iran announced in mid-October that an agreement had been signed with a Russian provider of banking technological solutions to connect the country’s financial network with global payment systems.
The agreement was signed between Iran’s Informatics Services Corporation (ISC) and Russia’s BPC Group of Companies.
Based on it, the two companies would cooperate in creating a standard banking card switch platform so as to provide a link between Iranian clients and international providers of financial services.