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Four foreign banks to open branches in Iran


TEHRAN, Sept. 14 (Mehr News Agency) - Four foreign banks have received the initial permits to open branches in Iran, the head of Organization for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran said here on Monday.

Behrouz Alishiri told the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network that four banks from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Qatar, and India plan to establish branches in Iran.

"The banks are allowed to start activity with the minimum registered initial capital of $300-400 million," Alishiri explained.

"The Qatari bank will be officially inaugurated during the planned visit of Qatari ruler to Iran," he added.

He went on to note that the Indian and the Malaysian bankers will soon travel to Iran to receive final permissions.

Iran-Europe Trade Bank was the first foreign bank branch in Iran which was inaugurated on January 2005 in Kish Island, southern Iran, with an initial capital of 160 million euros.

The UK-based Standard Chartered was the second bank that opened a branch in Kish in mid-2005.

The Bahrain-based Future Bank, a joint venture between Ahli United Bank, Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran, was the third one.

The bank which has a capital outlay of $99 million is the first banking venture between Iran and the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council in 20 years, aimed at facilitating the flow of capital between the countries.

With the long-awaited privatization law having already come into force in the summer of 2008, allowing the normal functioning of foreign banks in Iran is viewed as a major economy boosting initiative by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), Press TV reported.

The rules for regulating the activity of foreign banks are set forth in four parts and 13 articles in the decree dated March 18, 2009 by the Council of Ministers and titled The Executive By-law of the Manner of Establishment and Operations of Foreign Bank Branches in Iran.

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