Iran allocates €400mln to importers from blocked funds in Iraq
WANA – The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has offered some €400 million ($427 million) from its resources blocked in Iraq because of US sanctions to importers in the country more than two weeks after reports suggested that authorities were planning to use the funds for imports of food and medicine from the Arab country.
A CBI statement released on Wednesday said that some €100 million from blocked funds in Iraq had been supplied to NIMA, a government-controlled exchange market where importers can obtain hard currency at prices that are lower than the unofficial market in Iran.
The statement said some €300 million from the same funds had been allocated to importers in NIMA over the past few days.
It said the allocation was a first in more than a year and had been made possible thanks to a recent easing of restrictions on Iran’s access to its funds in Iraq.
A November report by the semi-official ISNA news agency said that nearly $6 billion worth of funds have been accumulated in an account in the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) for Iranian exports of energy to the Arab country in recent years.
The report said that total Iranian overseas resources that remain inaccessible because of US sanctions on Iran’s banking relations with other countries amount to around $50 billion.
Local media reports in late January had suggested that Iran’s ministry of trade had asked food, pharmaceutical and health industries in the country to submit a list of priorities for imports from Iraq using funds blocked in the TBI.