Iran’s landmark nuclear deal with Western countries and the lifting of trade sanctions to follow opens the way for banks to resume links with their Iranian counterparts and, in due course, write letter of credit (L/C) business with the Islamic republic.

But lingering concerns about money laundering may deter some of the world’s largest banks from rushing to do L/C business once more with Iran.

Still exposed

Banks including BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Crédit AgricoleS.A. andSociété Générale may be deterred from doing business with Iran for fear of once again breaching money laundering regulations.

While the headline deal with Iran over its nuclear programme has been struck, a complex web of US sanctions comprising Executive Orders and sanctions issued by Congress, could take some time to unpick.

International banks may still feel too exposed to these remaining sanctions to consider doing business with Iran.

Central bank concerns

Concerns have also been expressed over the speed with which the Central Bank of Iran will be able to implement global anti-money laundering measures.

Iran has not adopted the Basel Accords and it is unclear whether they will start with Basel II or go straight to Basel III.

In the absence of robust regulations, international banks may remain too cautious to do business with Iran.