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Iranian Banks Reconnect With Global System

Iranian banks are starting to get reconnected to the international payments system known as SWIFT, allowing the resumption of cross-border transfers for the first time in four years.

The move follows the lifting of economic sanctions last month under the landmark nuclear deal with world powers, which enabled Iran's Central Bank and 15 other banks to restore access to SWIFT starting on February 13, banking officials said on February 17.

The banks' inability to make foreign transfers had become a political issue recently, with conservative critics complaining that the nuclear deal championed by President Hassan Rohani was not delivering promised benefits.

Reuters reported that the lack of bank access due to sanctions imposed in 2012 had been slowing the resumption of oil shipments to Europe.

Officials did not name the banks reconnected to SWIFT, but Iranian media said they included Bank Melli, Iran's largest bank.

Onur Ozan, a manager at Belgium-based SWIFT, said the network was still working on reconnecting other Iranian applicants.

Iranian banks linked to the Revolutionary Guards remain under U.S. sanctions and U.S. banks are still prohibited from doing business with Iran.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP