BERLIN, Sept 4 Three Iranian banks have told
Bavaria's economy minister that they plan to open branches in
Munich to help stimulate more business ties with German firms,
the Muenchner Merkur newspaper reported on Sunday.
Middle East Bank, Parsian Bank and Sina Bank have received
approval from Iran's central bank to set up branches overseas,
the minister, Ilse Aigner, told the newspaper.
Aigner, a member of the conservative Christian Social Union
(CSU), spoke with the newspaper from Tehran during her second
visit to the Iranian capital within a year.
"Business ties between Bavarian companies and Iran often
fail today because of barriers in the payment process," Aigner
told the newspaper in interview to be published Monday.
"That is why having branches of Iranian banks in Munich is
particularly important for our businesses. Especially our small-
to medium-sized firms have enormous export prospects to Iran
that they will be able to utilise more easily in the future."
Many European companies complain that although U.S.
sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme were lifted in
January, they still cannot secure financing from Western banks
because they are worried about further sanctions still in effect
in the United States, such as those against money laundering.
Under the nuclear sanctions, Iranian companies used methods
such as transfers of funds through money changers to conduct
trade, which was expensive, time-consuming and sometimes
Aigner told the paper that the Iranian banks would now get
professional help for setting up satellite offices in Munich and
navigating the approval process.
She cited strong interest in exporting items to Iran from
the German engineering, automotive, aerospace, environmental
technology, pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)