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Iran’s chief banker: Exchange market launches trading in Iranian rial/ruble

Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Governor Ali Salehabadi

Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Governor Ali Salehabadi says the country's foreign exchange market has launched Iranian rial/Russian ruble trading, a step toward ditching the dollar in Tehran-Moscow economic and financial ties.

"The launching of trading in the ruble/rial currency pair is an important step in the development of economic relations between Iran and Russia," Salehabadi said on Tuesday.

The CBI governor underscored the current political conditions across the world and said global currencies like the dollar had become a political tool and agents of domination.

“Local currencies and bilateral and multilateral monetary agreements will be a suitable means to neutralize the political tools of domination that are global currencies; and in this regard, today, we are witnessing the first and very important step in the field of bilateral monetary agreements between Iran and Russia,” Salehabadi noted.

He stressed that the issue of Iran’s economic relations with other countries, especially friendly and neighboring countries, was one of the Iranian government’s strategic priorities and said, “Following the president’s visit to Russia… good memoranda of understanding were signed, and one of those agreements was the important rial/ruble bilateral monetary deal, whose implementation we are fortunately witnessing today.”

The head of the CBI said banking and financial infrastructure were prerequisites for the establishment and expansion of economic relations, adding that the launching of the rial/ruble trading would be an important and serious step in the field of economic ties between Russia and Iran.

“As of today, and gradually in the coming days, applicants for the ruble currency will enter this [foreign exchange] market and easily meet their needs in rubles, and we hope to witness the deepening of and increase in the volume of transactions in the market,” Salehabadi said.

Pointing to the significant presence of Iranian students in Russian universities, the CBI governor said, “Meeting the needs of Iranian students studying in Russia for the ruble currency is one of the merits of conducting rial/ruble currency pair transactions in the foreign exchange market.”

The announcement comes as Russia President Vladimir Putin arrived in Iran for a summit with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts on the Syrian conflict.

During Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi’s visit to Russia in January, Tehran and Moscow reached agreements to expand their cooperation in various fields, including in the industry, defense, and aerospace sectors. The Iranian chief executive said the two sides also discussed steps to challenge the dominance of the US dollar and continue trade in their national currencies. Russia and Iran discussed the unification of their banking systems, particularly in order to come up with an alternative to SWIFT, the global provider of secure financial messaging services, which is subject to US and European sanctions.

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