Iran said on Saturday that it has been able to receive payments for exports of its petrochemical products through an international bank in Spain. The country said this has now officially opened the channel for banking transactions over its export activities that had been blocked for five years as a result of sanctions.
“For the first time in five years and after the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran has been able to receive the money for its first petrochemical exports in multiple years through a European bank,” said Mehdi Sharifi Nik-Nafs, the managing director of Iran’s Petrochemical Commercial Company (IPCC).
Sharifi Nik-Nafs said the above transaction had been made possible by virtue of a financial agreement – an Escrow Account Agreement – signed with the Spanish bank, IRNA reported.
It was originally signed in summer 2015 to facilitate transactions over supplying the equipment for certain Iranian petrochemical projects but has now been used for Iran export payments, the official said.
“Based on this agreement as well as the related authorizations received from the government of Spain as well as the country’s central bank, Iran will no longer have any restrictions to receive payments for its exports of petrochemicals products from different countries,” Sharifi Nik-Nafs added.
The petrochemical industry is the biggest source of foreign earnings for Iran after oil, put around $14 billion last year.
Tehran used to send 30% of its petrochemical cargoes to Europe before trade wilted under the sanctions.
Iran’s current production capacity in the petrochemical sector stands at about 60 million tons in a year. The country has already devised serious plans to double this to as high as 120 million tons per year in the first stage and 180 million tons per year in a further stage.