Iran's banks to be blocked from global banking system

Flames at an oil refinery Iran has the world's third-largest oil reserves

Related Stories

Swift, the body that handles global banking transactions, says it will cut Iran's banks out of the system on Saturday to enforce sanctions.

The move will isolate Iran financially by making it almost impossible for money to flow in and out of the country via official banking channels.

It will hit its oil industry, but may also have a heavy impact on Iranians who live abroad and send money home.

The move follows EU sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

The US and its allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons - a charge it denies.

Sanctions expert Mehrdad Emadi: "Losing Swift facilities is equivalent to not having travel documents for a business person"

Iran last week agreed to hold talks with six major world powers over its nuclear programme, although no date or venue has been set.

Almost all banking transactions pass through Belgium-based Swift, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is sometimes called the "glue" that holds the financial system together.

Swift will pull the plug at 1600 GMT on Saturday, in what is all but the final blow to Iranian business dealings.

Oil

Its announcement coincides with news that major money exchange houses in the nearby United Arab Emirates have stopped handling Iranian rials over the last few weeks, something that has further reduced Iran's ability to trade and acquire hard currency.

Iran's business activities had already been restricted by US anti-money laundering legislation which made it risky for banks around the world to do business with Iran, including trade financing.

It is heavily reliant on its oil industry.

China and India have said they will still take Iranian oil, but the only obvious way for Iran to be paid for it is now in gold.

One Iranian businessman said Swift's move would make it now impossible to conduct business with Iran.

Morteza Masoumzadeh, a member of the executive committee of the Iranian Business Council in Dubai and managing director of the Jumbo Line Shipping Agency, told the Reuters news agency: "If Iranian banks cannot exchange payments with banks around the world then this will cause the collapse of many banking relations and many businesses."

Lazaro Campos, chief executive of Swift, said: "Disconnecting banks is an extraordinary and unprecedented step for Swift. It is a direct result of international and multilateral action to intensify financial sanctions against Iran."

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    REDROW RESULTS 07:35:
    Redrow houses

    Redrow says a large number of its Help to Buy clients were first time buyers and over half were in the north of England. It says its order book is looking plump - up 85% on last year. Business Live has been debating Redrow's building style. Ease of upkeep of the wooden bits has excited debate.

     
  2.  
    REDROW RESULTS 07:21:

    Housebuilder Redrow's results are here. The usual tale of rising prices and the government's Help to Buy scheme. Redrow reports a 13% increase in the average selling price to £239,500, record group revenues and record pre-tax profits (almost doubling). Help To Buy provided 35% of private completions.

     
  3.  
  4.  
    BORIS ISLAND 07:07:

    Sir Howard Davis, chairman of the commission, said it had come down against Boris's island airport plan because: "The economic disruption would be huge and there are environmental hurdles which it may prove impossible, or very time-consuming to surmount." Even the least-ambitious version of the scheme would cost £70-90bn."

     
  5.  
    BORIS ISLAND 07:04:

    "The Airports Commission has today (2 September 2014) announced its decision not to add the inner Thames estuary airport proposal to its shortlist of options for providing new airport capacity by 2030. Following detailed further study into the feasibility of an inner Thames estuary airport the commission has concluded that the proposal has substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits." A firm no, as expected.

     
  6.  
    MARKETS 06:56: BBC Radio 4

    BlackRock is the world's largest asset manager with more than $4.5 trillion under management. Its investment boss Ewen Cameron Watt, discussing why markets are so steady in the face of so much global tension tells Today: "Volatility is exceptionally low by historical standards and there's too much money chasing too few assets."

     
  7.  
    HSBC SHARES 06:42: Radio 5 live
    hsbc

    Ewen Cameron Watt, Chief Investment Strategist of the BlackRock Investment Institute, is now on 5 live talking about the news Neil Woodford, the fund manager, flogged his HSBC shares. "Neil bought HSBC because it was one of the few banks where he thought there was some dividend growth," he says. However, fines in the sector are likely to drain that prospect, he says. It's fines "more than anything that's sapping bank's willingness too lend, or ability to lend".

     
  8.  
    MARKETS 06:27: BBC Radio 4

    Today is looking at why stock markets are at a 52-week high when the political situation around the world is so dire - there's the threat of war in Europe and conflict in the key oil producer Iraq. Ewen Cameron Watt, chief investment strategist at Investment Institute of giant asset manager BlackRock says: "At this stage in the summer months the thought that Russia might affect sending gas to Europe is not a worry. [Energy stocks] are about 90% of capacity."

     
  9.  
    BANKING COMPLAINTS 06:12: Radio 5 live

    More from the Financial Ombudsman's Caroline Wayman. Fee-paying bank accounts are the cause of the increase in complaints about banking, she says. "People are getting in touch saying they didn't know they had a fee paying account or want one." People are "more aware but we see a lot of people who are reluctant to raise concerns," when coming forward to the service, she says. There are also more complaints about payday loans, but from a low starting point she says.

     
  10.  
    BANKING COMPLAINTS 06:02: Radio 5 live

    Caroline Wayman, chief executive of the Financial Ombudsman Service is on Wake Up to Money talking about complaints about banks. Complaints about payment protection insurance have fallen by almost a third, but complaints about other things in banking are up: "Still a lot of people get in touch, more than 1,000 people a day," she says. "We've had to expand a lot."

     
  11.  
    06:01: Howard Mustoe Business reporter

    Morning! Get in touch via email bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or via twitter @BBCBusiness

     
  12.  
    06:00: Rebecca Marston Business reporter, BBC News

    Good morning and welcome to Tuesday's Business Live. Stick with us for the pick of the morning's news.

     

Features

  • Arsene Wenger, Diego Costa, Danny Welbeck Ins and outs

    Who will be satisfied and who left with regrets after transfer window? BBC Sport


  • Women doing ice bucket challengeChill factor

    How much has the Ice Bucket Challenge achieved?


  • Women in front of Windows XP posterUpgrade angst

    Readers share their experiences of replacing their operating system


  • Members of staff at James Stevenson Flags hold a Union Jack and Saltire flag UK minus Scotland

    Does the rest of the UK care if the Scots become independent?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.