Iran secures 8-bln euro loan from Korea Eximbank
TEHRAN - Agence France-PresseIran has secured an eight-billion euro credit line from South Korea’s Eximbank, the Islamic republic’s biggest loan deal since its 2015 nuclear accord, the Iranian central bank announced on Aug. 24.
“The biggest contract since the atomic accord was signed with South Korea’s Eximbank today for the amount of eight billion euros ($9.4 billion),” said central bank governor Valiollah Seif, in a statement carried by state news agency IRNA.
A spokesman for South Korea’s export credit bank, contacted by AFP, said the deal would finance projects in Iran by companies from the Asian country.
“We started signing with Iranian banks a framework agreement today. We did it with three Iranian banks today and will do so with nine other Iran banks in the coming week to complete the agreement,” he said.
“Under the agreement, Eximbank will provide an eight-billion euro credit line for those banks so that they can help finance various projects in Iran that are awarded to South Korean companies,” said the bank spokesman.
Seif said the loan would facilitate “several development and production projects”, and it showed the international community was ready to restore “long-term” banking ties with Iran.
Under the landmark July 2015 nuclear accord signed by Iran and world powers, Tehran has curbed its atomic program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions from January 2016.
But Washington has maintained and increased unilateral sanctions over Iran’s ballistic missiles program and alleged support for terrorist groups, deterring a full return to the Iranian market by some international players cautious over possible US punitive measures.
“One of the problems created by international sanctions was they put a halt to financial accords,” said the central bank chief.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who took office in January, is a fierce critic of the nuclear deal, acting as a deterrent to a normalization between the Iranian banking sector and major international banks.
But with the Eximbank agreement sealed, “I hope we will be able to announce more good news in the days and months ahead,” said Seif.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says the country, a major oil producer, needs massive foreign investment to revive its economy and combat its high unemployment, officially estimated at 12.7 percent.