Central Bank of Iran (CBI) officials have admitted that the regime's own financial policies, and not the United States, are responsible for some of the country's banking problems. CBI governor Seif Valiollah admitted recently that Tehran's failure to reap more economic benefits from the JCPOA agreement is, at least in part, Iran's own fault.
These revelations by Iran's top banking officials refute charges by Iranian hardliners that the United States has been orchestrating a toteyeh bozoorg ("grand conspiracy") to deny Iran access to international banking networks.
CBI officials and others have detailed the shortcomings of Iran's own banking system. These CBI statements challenge the skewed comments in the Iranian press that America's refusal to grant foreign banks access to U.S financial services is what is responsible for Iran's bank problems. Some of the negative commentary came from economists disappointed with President Rouhani's management of the economy.
CBI governor Valiollah said that the failure of the country's banks to adhere to standard international reporting practices is at fault. He also blamed the financial policies of former President Ahmadinejad as contributing to the present disorder in Iran's banking network. Valiollah criticized, for instance, Ahmadinejad's populist policies, such as frequent and careless loans, as a waste of finances. Valiollah also specifically mentioned Ahmadinejad's penchant for using non-accredited financial institutions, through which he doled out rewards to political cronies, and addressed the lack of liquidity in Iran's banks as a consequence of the large amount of failed loans. Subsequently, these bad loans necessitated the buy-back by the government of physical assets, such as residential and business properties. Valiollah offered an overall bleak assessment of Iran's tarnished financial image, which he suggested, has discouraged foreign investment.
In a swipe at the hardliners who oppose President Rouhani's economic "opening to the West," Valiollah also mentioned that Iran has a reputation for not being exactly transparent on countering financial support for terrorist operations. He further blamed the regime's willingness to facilitate money-laundering schemes as another factor discouraging investment from abroad, and indirectly criticized the overweening influence of the huge business conglomerates run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the Iranian economy. Valiollah also called for Iran to have a unified and stable exchange rate tied to the market rate, not one subject to manipulation by powerful groups affiliated with the regime.
Nasser Hakimi, another CBI official, blamed Iran's own banks for access problems with the Society for Worldwide International Transactions (SWIFT) network. The SWIFT messaging system enables banks to process financial transactions in a secure and rapid manner. Moreover, one CBI functionary added that several of Iran's key banks had not yet purchased or installed the required software and financial identifier codes that would enable SWIFT to become operable in Iran.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi stated in the press that Iran's banks are determined to improve access to SWIFT, and urged Iranian economists to visit the SWIFT Room of the CBI.
Economists opposed to the Rouhani administration had accused Washington of obstructing banking ties with the European Union and discouraging investment in Iran. One of these economists, Asadollah Asgaroladi, claimed that Iran still can only process transactions with foreign countries through Dubai. One official, affiliated with the Iranian Chamber of Commerce's Industries, Mines, and Agriculture Division, stated that there is limited access to SWIFT, but with Asian nations only, such as China, Japan, and South Korea.
CBI officials realize now that the Obama White House went out of its way to allay the fears of Western banks, especially those from the European Union, that they would risk being fined for conducting normal banking relations with Iran. CBI governor Valiollah even complimented Secretary of State Kerry's assistance in convincing European banks that it is acceptable to deal with their Iranian counterparts. In praising Kerry's effort to facilitate the foreign transactional activity of Iran's banks, "Kerry insisted that foreign banks should cooperate with Iranian banks and that any bank that doubts this, should contact Washington."
Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve, where he was a Military Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Israel.
 Keyhan Newspaper quotes hard-liner Jaffar Bolour re U.S. Bank Conspiracy and exerting pressure on EU banks.