The Curious Case of JP Morgan and the $9 Iran Trade

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Euromoney, March 2016

US banks are as far from re-engagement with Iran as they have ever been, but Euromoney has learned that one of the biggest names in American finance was financing trade even under the sanctions regime: JPMorgan.

It did so – legally, under special licence from the US Treasury – as part of Boeing’s licence to sell spare parts to Iran Air, granted in April 2014. The Boeing deal, which followed an interim agreement between world powers and Iran on Iran’s nuclear programme the previous November, permitted Boeing to sell “spare parts that are for safety purposes” to Iran “for a limited period of time”.

Parsian Bank was at the Iranian end of the trade; JPMorgan was on the US side, with transactions going through Halkbank in Turkey. “It was not huge amounts,” says Ali Reza Alaei, head of international at Parsian in Tehran. “It was for a small number of spare parts, maybe the equivalent of €60,000 to €100,000 in dollars.”

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Chris Wright
Chris Wright
Chris is a journalist specialising in business and financial journalism across Asia, Australia and the Middle East. He is Asia editor for Euromoney magazine and has written for publications including the Financial Times, Institutional Investor, Forbes, Asiamoney, the Australian Financial Review, Discovery Channel Magazine, Qantas: The Australian Way and BRW. He is the author of No More Worlds to Conquer, published by HarperCollins.

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