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Iran signs deals with German, Swiss insurers

The lifting of sanctions has cleared the way for resumption of insurance services to Iran.

Iran has signed initial agreements with Germany’s Hermes insurance firm and Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) to provide cover for transactions with Europe, IRNA news agency says.

The Export Guarantee Fund of Iran (EGFI) signed the agreements in Lisbon on the sidelines of the annual meeting of Bern Union, an association of private and state export credit insurers from around the world, it reported Wednesday.

Under the agreement, the Iranian and European sides will cooperate on “exchange of economic, trade and banking information, reinsurance coverage, coinsurance, and training.”

IRNA quoted EGFI Managing Director Kamal Seyyed-Ali as saying that European export credit insurers were increasingly interested in financing projects after the lifting of sanctions on Iran.

“Given our good track record in repayment of finance installments and Iran’s foreign exchange reserves and the nonexistence of outstanding debts, these institutions are interested in the Iranian financing market despite the problems created by the US Treasury,” he said.

Banks and financial institutions are holding back on moving into Iran because they are fearful of falling foul of American sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran paid off its debt of about 500 million euros to Hermes, Iranian Ambassador to Berlin Ali Majedi said in June, clearing the way for resumption of insurance services.

Hermes, which extends insurance coverage to Iranian exports, has been encouraging German banks to normalize ties with Iran.

Last month, the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran (CBI) said Austrian export credit agency OeKB had raised its cover for Iran transactions to 1 billion euros.

Raiffeisen Bank and Erste Bank from Austria along with banks from Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Turkey and Belgium have set up shop in Iran, handling transactions with the energy-rich country while major banks have stayed away.

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