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Woori Bank launches service desk in Iran

South Korea’s Woori Bank has opened a Korea Desk in Iran’s capital Tehran to provide services for South Korean companies over their Iran business.

Iran’s media reported on Tuesday that South Korea’s Woori Bank has launched a “Korea Desk” in Tehran to help Korean companies over their business activities in the Islamic Republic.   

The move, a first by a foreign bank for post-sanctions activities in Iran, has been announced by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).  The CBI added that Woori Bank, which is one of major commercial banks in South Korea, has launched the Desk at a domestic bank in Tehran. 

This will help the bank to relay financial regulations and market information in Iran to Korean companies and in Korea to Iranian firms. 

CBI Deputy for Foreign Currency Affairs Gholam-Ali Kamyab has been quoted by the media as saying that the move could prepare the ground for the opening of Woori branches in Iran. 

South Korea’s media reported in early March that a deal is in the pipeline between Woori Bank and Iran’s second largest lender Bank Pasargad to set up a Korea Desk. 

The initiative was also described as a temporary market-probing arrangement to provide services for Korean companies ahead of their full entry into the Iranian market.

Woori Bank would decide by the end of this year whether to open a branch or incorporated entity in Iran after the trial service, reported South Korea’s media in March.

Korean companies will be able to use Woori Bank’s service in the Iranian bank or the Korean bank’s outlets in neighboring cities of Bahrain and Dubai for their businesses in Iran, reports added.

Woori Bank has been aggressively seeking to advance into countries in the Middle East. It is one of two Korean banks where the Central Bank of Iran has accounts. After U.S. dollars were banned in direct trading with Iran, companies in Iran and Korea have been trading with each other in dollars indirectly through these accounts.

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