0151 GMT February 20, 2019
An Iranian official said Tuesday Switzerland has prepared all requirements for an independent payment channel aimed at keeping trade ties with Iran.
Sharif Nezam-Mafi, the head of Iran-Switzerland Chamber of Commerce, told IRNA that the financial mechanism is ready to be launched.
Nezam-Mafi said the clearing house will be used to facilitate Iran’s oil transactions with its major Asian crude customers namely India, China and South Korea.
“Currently there is no money belonging to Iran in Europe. Most of Iran’s money is in India, China and South Korea which import Iranian crude,” he said.
According to Nezam-Mafi, once the Iranian oil money flows from Asia to Europe, the Swiss financial channel will start to work immediately.
The official said no time has not been set for the Swiss payment mechanism to go operational. “There is still no clear date, but everything is waiting for Iran's money to enter the financial mechanism.”
He noted the transfer of money requires an approval from the US Treasury Department and the matter that has been the focus of negotiations between the Swiss government and the US government in recent months.
Nezam-Mafi said the Swiss government has designated an operating bank, but has not yet formally announced its name.
The payment channel is designed to bypass US sanctions imposed on Iran after Washington ditched the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran earlier this year.
The European Union is also working on a system to ease non-dollar trade with Iran to circumvent US sanctions. The EU hopes its special purpose vehicle announced in September will keep the nuclear deal alive and persuade Tehran to stay on board by giving companies a way of trading with Iran without violating Washington's sanctions.
But Brussels is struggling to find a host for the SPV and many EU companies are fearful of repercussions from the Trump's administration.