TEHRAN – The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnaser Hemmati said on Saturday that guaranteed and conclusive lifting of sanctions against the country’s banking system is a priority for Iran in order for the nuclear talks to proceed.

“The removal of sanctions against the central bank, Iranian banks, SWIFT, and any money transfer between them and major foreign correspondent banks, needs to be verified,” Hemmati said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Hemmati noted that officials from the central bank are directly involved in the negotiations to make sure that the lifting of sanctions will be real and practical.

Asked about the way in which the practicality of the deal will be verified, Hemmati said: “We will make the verification in our own ways; personally, I am hopeful about the trend of negotiations.”

Iran and the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal held another meeting on Friday to discuss the latest developments concerning the nuclear deal. During the meeting, participants agreed to expedite talks and start working on a draft text of the final agreement to revive the nuclear deal.

Iran’s banking system has for decades been largely isolated from global finance because of the U.S. sanctions.

The Islamic Republic says U.S. sanctions have even prevented the country from importing non-sanctioned goods like food and medicines and effectively handle the coronavirus outbreak. Washington has also stood in the way of Iran’s $5 billion loan application to the International Monetary Fund.

The Friday meeting has marked the start of the fourth round of nuclear talks, which is taking place in the Austrian capital of Vienna within the framework of the JCPOA Joint Commission.

Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister who leads the Iranian delegation at the Vienna talks, issued a brief statement shortly after the JCPOA Joint Commission saying that during the meeting “it was decided to start expert and technical consultations and work on the draft texts immediately.” The statement added, “All parties reaffirmed their seriousness to achieve the result in the shortest possible time.”

TEHRAN – Iranian exports of petrochemical products increased by 13 percent in the previous Iranian calendar year (ended on March 20) compared to the preceding year, general secretary of Iran’s Association of Petrochemical Industry Corporation (APIC) said.

According to Ahmad Mahdavi Abhari, last year 11 new petrochemical complexes went operational across Iran which increased the country’s petrochemical output by about 10 percent.

Abhari noted that despite the obstacles created by the U.S. sanctions, the Islamic Republic does not have any problems for exporting petrochemical products, saying: “Based on a predetermined procedure, the transfer of petrochemical revenues into the country is underway.”
He further mentioned the continuous development of the country’s petrochemical industry and said: “This year too, we will witness a great surge in the production and export of petrochemical products in the country.”

Iran has been highly developing its petrochemical industry over the past few years as the development of the giant South Pars gas field (Iran shares with Qatar in the Persian Gulf) has been supplying more feedstock to the petrochemical units.

According to the National Petrochemical Company (NPC), the second leap of the petrochemical industry is going to be realized in the current Iranian calendar year (started on March 21) to boost the country’s annual petrochemical revenues up to $25 billion.

The third leap of the industry, which is aimed to increase the revenues from the mentioned sector to $37 billion, is also planned to take place in the Iranian calendar year 1404 (begins in March 2025).

According to President Hassan Rouhani, the country’s petrochemical production capacity has nearly doubled over the past eight years.

“The petrochemical production capacity is expected to reach 100 million tons in the current year and this shows that a lot of work has been done. the revenues from the petrochemical industry have helped us during the years of economic war and sanctions,” Rouhani said earlier.

The president noted that 17 petrochemical projects worth about $12 billion were planned to be inaugurated across the country to realize the second leap of the industry, of which 12 were put into operation in the previous year and the rest will go operation this year.