Iran sanctions: special focus
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Iran sanctions: special focus

Euromoney investigates how the relaxation of western sanctions on Iran – dubbed the world’s most lucrative closed economy – will jump-start trade and capital flows from Europe to the Gulf, and plots a vision for the country's banking system and economic transformation, more generally.

Standard Chartered’s $1 billion fine draws line under Iran breaches 

April 2019


Closure of second investigation brings embarrassing episode to an end.

Banking: How long can Iran hold? 

December 2018 


The Trump administration has begun the process of ostracizing Iranian finance. Bankers there are hanging on to some rare good news, but how long will it be till they are back to square one?

Outlook darkens for the Gulf’s competing powers

September 2018


In early 2016, the Middle East’s two largest countries looked set to become the world’s most vibrant frontier markets. Two years on, many bankers doubt that either Iran or Saudi Arabia can live up to these expectations.

Iran nuclear deal: Can JCPOA live on?

July 2018

Europe may not be enough after Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal.


Awards for Excellence 2018: Middle East

July 2018

Iran's best bank: Ayandeh Bank

Banks and Iran: Tillerson’s firing muddies the waters even more for investment

March 2018

Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, the latest sign of his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, an international agreement that has allowed the country’s banks partial re-entry into global finance after years of sanction-fuelled isolation.

Turkish bank funding in focus after Atilla sanctions verdict

January 2018


Turkish banks’ dependence on external funding was back in focus in January after one of the country’s leading bankers was found guilty of involvement in a multi-billion dollar scheme to evade sanctions on Iran.

London’s first Iran-linked listing raises transparency concerns

November 2017

An investment company linked to one of Iran’s largest investment banks failed to publicly disclose its focus on Iran when it listed on NEX Exchange, though it always intended to invest primarily in that country.

Belt and Road: Middle East takes the slow road to China

September 2017


The Belt and Road Initiative offers much to the disparate markets of the Middle East and Africa, but not all those countries seem so enthusiastic in return.


Country Awards for Excellence 2017: Middle East – Iran Best bank

May 2017

It was a year of tremendous change for Iran’s banking sector as the country continued to open up to the world thanks to the effects of the nuclear agreement. 

Middle East: Iran’s banks struggle with expectations

January 2017

Akbar Komijani-600

Banks in Iran have made progress since the signing of the nuclear deal, yet many obstacles to doing business internationally remain; for every step forward, there seems to be one back.

Iran: Nothing cements treaties like money

December 2016

Commerce could reverse Trump’s vow to dismantle the Iran nuclear deal.

Iran’s bankers wait for Trump’s next move

December 2016

Trump Rip-600

Immediately after Donald Trump’s election victory, Euromoney visited Tehran to gauge the reaction of one group likely to be affected more than most – Iran’s banking community. Throughout his campaign Trump threatened to tear up the nuclear agreement that has allowed Iran to take its first tentative steps towards international rehabilitation. But bankers in Tehran are determined to hold on to their hard-won gains.

Middle East: Iran’s markets come in from the cold

October 2016

Iran cold Azadi square-R-600

The country’s financial system is still not easy to access; money has trickled rather than flooded into its stock exchange since January’s deal with the US to lift sanctions. Nevertheless, as the country emerges from years of isolation, important changes are taking place that could herald a new era for Iran’s capital markets.

Country Awards for Excellence 2016: Middle East

June 2016

Iran best bank: The financial year under consideration was another painful one for Iranian banking, as international sanctions continued to exert huge pressure on the country’s ailing economy. 

Country risk: Iran’s prospects brighten on reform hopes

March 2016

Iran election woman-R-600

The sovereign is still high risk, but is improving in Euromoney’s country risk survey, underpinned by the recent election results.

Iran: Knocking on Tehran’s door


March 2016

The lifting of sanctions meant a stream of international banks would make their way to Iran, right? Wrong. Some banks admit they are taking the first steps on the road to Tehran. Others might be, but they certainly do not want to talk about it. And in either case, there are plenty of barriers to getting there.

The curious case of JPMorgan and the $9 Iran trade

February 2016

When Iran Air needed some Boeing spare parts before sanctions were lifted, JPMorgan took the US side of the trade. Why and how?

Iran – History in the making

February 2016

It wasn’t quite John Simpson on the plane with the Ayatollah returning to Iran in 1979, but nonetheless Euromoney experienced a bit of history in January.

Banks frustrated as Iran’s Swift return is held up

February 2016

Sanction removal unveils Iran currency hopes January 2016

Iran is emerging from the shadows to re-establish itself as a prime player in the Middle East. Moves are afoot to rid the country of its black-market exchange rate and develop a working currency forward market.

Why banks will continue to snub Iran post sanction-easing

January 2016

The planned removal of some sanctions on Iran creates opportunities for transactional business, but reputational risks and compliance challenges mean the country will remain a no-go for international lenders.

Iran issues $300m equivalent domestic bond

November 2015

Interest rate of 26% for 165-day notes; international return inked in for 2016.

The future's bright, the future's inconvenient

October 2015

What's in a name? Plenty, it seems, if it's similar to one on a sanctions list.

US outlines rules for Iran

October 2015

Iran rial-R-600

Overall clarity still lacking; US financial system firmly out of bounds.

The debt case for Middle East investment September 2015

Saudi Arabia and Iran have been presented chiefly as an opportunity on the equity side, but both markets are attracting interest from the fixed income community as well.

Iran plots path from sanctions to action

September 2015

The country’s return to the fold of international finance is likely to be as long and winding as the road to the lifting of sanctions. But that hasn’t stopped forward-thinkers in Tehran’s financial elite plotting a vision for their banks and financial markets. Can it possibly live up to its billing in some quarters as ‘the most exciting investment in the world’?

Iran: On the road outside the capital

September 2015

On the road outside the capital

Iran is big. Iranians are fond of telling visitors that it experiences four distinct climates at any one time, from snowbound mountains to deserts, and its 80 million people are spread across a multitude of diverse locations outside Tehran; indeed, the tourist industry, should it ever truly take off, will be pretty much everywhere but the traffic-throttled, daunting sprawl of the capital.

Iran’s long road ahead

August 2015

Iran flag-R-600

The contingent lifting of western sanctions on the world's biggest untapped market has been met with cautious optimism by the financial industry.

Frontier investors prepare to enter Iran

August 2015

Well-functioning stock market; structural surprises still likely.

Iran's pivotal moment

September 2014


The security crisis brought on by the rise of Islamic State could turn Iran from pariah to much-needed partner to the west. Financial sanctions have hit both Iran’s economy and its banks hard. Inflation is rampant, NPLs are soaring, while banks lack capital. Corporates can’t get the funding they need. Local bank chiefs are itching to open their doors once again to foreign counterparties. If sanctions are lifted, what will the world’s bankers find in Tehran and beyond?

Iranian banks take to the courts

April 2015

Mellat leads legal action against UK; lifting sanctions only half the issue.

Iran: Tehran turning point

September 2014

Iran and the west don’t have to be friends, but there will be big benefits from a rapprochement.

Bank strategy: Two ways to win the Middle East

September 2014

Some banks are national powerhouses, building out across the region; others are already regional players, with individual markets creating something greater than the sum of their parts.

The long business arm of the Iranian state

September 2014

After the Iranian Revolution overthrew the Shah in 1979 and the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini launched the Islamic Republic that exists today, there were a lot of assets the Shah and his followers had left behind as they fled Iran.

Ayandeh’s DIY mega-merger sets template for Iranian bank consolidation

September 2014

Few bank mergers anywhere in the world have been more ambitious than the one that created Bank Ayandeh in Iran in 2013. It combined Tat Bank with two other financial institutions and 10 credit cooperatives, and did so in a country that has absolutely no regulatory guidance for how to do it and where staff layoffs are all but taboo because of vast national unemployment.

Modern Middle East Bank shows there is no escape from sanctions list

September 2014

“What I’m trying to do,” says Parviz Aghili, “is to set up a bank that is accustomed with what is going on around the world.”

Banks of Iran: Six pieces of an Iranian jigsaw

June 2014

Bank Melli Iran logo
Parsian Bank logo
Saman Bank logo
Middle East Bank logo
Ayandeh Bank logo
Tejarat Bank logo

Iran has a heavily populated and complex banking sector, with several large state-owned banks that hold most of the country’s assets and deposits and at least 17 privately owned banks that tend to be smaller but more nimble and entrepreneurial. Euromoney profiles six institutions that represent different parts of the picture.

Dubai: Waiting for a windfall from Iran

June 2014

Can Dubai take advantage of Tehran’s rapprochement with the US to once again become Iran’s de facto financial link to the world?

The changing face of Iran’s political risk post-nuclear deal

November 2013

As international sanctions on the country are loosened after the ground-breaking, albeit tentative, nuclear deal, Iran’s influence in the region will undergo dramatic changes, argues Emad Mostaque, of Noah Capital Markets.

Iran: Crippling sanctions tarnish Rouhani’s reform drive

July 2013

The economic situation in Iran is likely to deteriorate further as the west steps up its sanctions against the regime, say analysts at the Institute of International Finance.

Sanctions tumble down on cornered Iran

October 2012

Iran’s overall ECR score fell by 2.6 points since Q1 2012 to 24.2 in Q3 2012, resulting in a four-place fall on ECR’s global rankings to 143.

Iran: Tehran stocks boom

September 2010

TSE main investment focus; privatization continues to flow.

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