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Loans at Iran sovereign fund unaffected by US sanctions: Board member

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows Mohammad Hosseini, a member of the board of trustees at the National Development Fund of Iran.

A member of the board of trustees at the National Development Fund of Iran (NDFI), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, has said that the company will continue to operate normally despite sanctions imposed by the United States.

“The NDFI has already been affected by the consequences of oil and banking sanctions over the past months and thus the new sanctions that have directly targeted the Fund would have no major impact on its performance,” said Mohammad Hosseini on Saturday.

Hosseini said that NDFI, which reportedly holds over $120 billion in cash, has no tangible assets outside Iran that could be affected by the American sanctions unlike sovereign funds in other countries who hold assets and bonds abroad.

He said the fund will continue to provide loans and finances in foreign currencies to major projects inside Iran despite the sanctions.

Iran occasionally taps into the NDFI, which holds much of Iran’s excess income from the sale of oil, to build infrastructure projects.

Drawing up from the fund needs the approval of the senior Iranian officials, including the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

The Leader approved tapping into the fund earlier this year when areas in west, southwest and north of Iran needed funds for reconstruction after massive floods left thousands homeless.

A recent report by the ministry of transportation also showed that over $350 million from the NDFI had been secured for construction activities at a railway project southeast of Iran where India has also committed to major finances.

Hosseini told the official IRNA agency that financing infrastructure projects through the NDFI would continue normally despite the fresh American sanctions.

“Extensive projects in the country have been launched or are being completed through resources from the Fund,” he said, adding, “The new sanctions will have no impact on the process to provide foreign currency loans that they (projects) need.”

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