Iran preparing financial infrastructure to accept Russian credit cards: Report


TEHRAN – Iran is preparing the necessary financial infrastructure to accept a Russian alternative for major international credit card systems to build stronger economic ties between the two countries, media outlets have reported.

Iran could start accepting Russian Mir debit and credit cards within the next few months, the trade attaché from Tehran’s embassy in Moscow told the Izvestia newspaper on Monday quoted by RT.

According to Mohsen Rahimi, work on preparing the necessary technical infrastructure is already underway; however, implementing the system will take time. The move comes as Russia and Iran continue to build stronger economic ties, Rahimi stressed.

Moscow and Tehran have strengthened relations in the face of Western sanctions. Trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $4 billion last year and has potential for further growth, particularly in manufacturing, mechanical engineering, and transport, according to an associate professor at the Financial University in Moscow, Mikhail Khachaturyan.

Testing of the Mir system, the Russian alternative to Visa and Mastercard, may start in Iran as early as the end of summer or the beginning of autumn, he told the outlet.

The move to launch Mir in Iran is a logical forward step in developing bilateral cooperation after Tehran joined the BRICS economic group this year, said Tatiana Monaghan, secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Last year, the two countries announced at the Kazan Forum that they had completed all preliminary settlements for the use of Mir cards. Iran and Russia have also agreed to integrate the system with its Iranian analog, Shetab, to facilitate mutual transactions.

Back in January 2023, Iran and Russia announced that the two countries connected their interbank communication and transfer systems to help boost trade and financial transactions.

Since the 2018 reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran after Washington ditched Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the Islamic Republic has been disconnected from the Belgium-based SWIFT financial messaging service, which is a key international banking access point.

Similar limitations have been slapped on some Russian banks since Moscow’s war with Ukraine last year.

“Iranian banks no longer need to use SWIFT … with Russian banks, which can be for the opening of Letters of Credit and transfers or warranties,” Deputy Governor of Iran’s Central Bank, Mohsen Karimi, told the semi-official Fars news agency in late January 2023.

“about 700 Russian banks and 106 non-Russian banks from 13 different countries will be connected to this system”, Karimi said without elaborating on the names of the foreign banks.

EF/



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