BIM to Channel AIIB Infrastructure Finance
Chief executive of Bank of Industry and Mine met with former Japanese
premier to outline the activities of the bank since Iran’s nuclear accord
with world powers was implemented in January 2015.
In his talk with Yukio Hatoyama, currently an adviser to the Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Ali Ashraf Afkhami pointed to opening
of the first letter of credit through the SWIFT interbank messaging network
for the private sector, establishing correspondent banking ties with 82
banks across 33 countries and signing a memorandum of understanding with the
Korea Export–Import Bank as important BIM initiatives.
Afkhami said that the bank has played an active role in financing
infrastructure development projects such as steel, cement, railways, power
plants and petrochemicals. Kavian petrochemicals as well as Lorestan and
Mahabad petrochemical companies and financing the construction of
Tehran-Qom-Isfahan railway and of modernization of the national fleet were
among the projects.
The AIIB adviser was in Iran as part of a five-member delegation to develop
bilateral and international economic ties. Hatoyama announced that AIIB is
ready to finance infrastructure projects in Iran through BIM.
Afkhami referred to a $400-million deal with the Export–Import Bank of
India, a €1.2-billion ($1.4 billion) finance deal for a thermal power plant
project in Hormuzgan Province with Russia’s Vnesheconombank, and a $1.5
billion partnership with the Export–Import Bank of China to electrify
Tehran-Mashhad railroad as other BIM undertakings after implementation of
the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“From the viewpoint of investments, Iran is the safest country in the region
and the second-biggest economy in the Middle East that boasts a young and
educated workforce,” Afkhami said.
He said Iran’s banking system consists of 33 banks, including 9 public
banks, 20 private banks and 4 credit institutes, which are compatible with
the requirements of the global banking system. In addition, the Iranian
stock exchange, which has a major share in petrochemical, refining, banks
and investment companies, has experienced a remarkable growth during
2013-2016 and has made significant progress towards joining the global
While explaining the country’s favorable conditions for international
engagement, the bank manager stated: Iran’s foreign debt has fallen sharply
between 2013 and 2016, and our country has always respected its obligations
to repay foreign debt, even in difficult circumstances of the unfair
Afkhami reiterated that transparency, business accountability, risk
management, attention to validation and, most importantly, respect for
financial discipline are most important achievements of the bank, which
could raise the position and rank of the bank in the international financial
The former Japanese PM also said: “I believe that the current government,
and in particular the Iranian Foreign Ministry, must be nominated for the
Nobel Peace Prize for achievement of JCPOA. I would like to strengthen
Iran-Japan trade relations and facilitate export of Japanese technology to
Hatoyama added that the type of software used in the banking system is very
important to Japan because the standard of the software defines the quality
and efficiency of the banking system.