Iran is lobbying to get HSBC to process humanitarian trade transactions that the bank had frozen because of concerns about potential breaches of international sanctions, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The London-based banking giant had in recent weeks frozen some transactions for approved goods amid worries about falling foul of any sanctions oversights, according to the report.
Iran was never barred from buying food or other humanitarian goods under sanctions first imposed in 2006 over its nuclear activity. But measures by the European Union and the US have made trade generally more difficult over the past two years, hindering payments and shipping, Reuters noted.
“My direct experience is that they have blocked payments going into and out of Iran,” a European trade source was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Iranian government sources confirmed that HSBC had stopped processing payments, and that Tehran was trying to resolve the issue, the report said.
“We are in talks to solve the problem,” an official was quoted as saying.
HSBC said it continued to consider humanitarian payments involving sanctioned countries “on a case-by-case basis” to ensure they are in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements.
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