Standard Chartered PLC has pulled out of Iran after keeping a presence there for decades, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
A woman walks past a Standard Chartered bank in London in an October 13, 2010, file photo.
The U.K. bank had signaled in 2007 it would stop taking new business in Iran, but it had kept open branches in Tehran and one on the island of Kish, the report said. A bank spokesman quoted in the Newswires report said all of the branches were closed in the first quarter of this year.
“We have been managing down our business in Iran” and “a physical presence was no longer required,” the spokesman was quoted as saying.
The departure of Standard Chartered comes as sanctions from the U.S., European Union and others have forced banks to sever ties with Iran. Brussels-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, or Swift, in March disconnected blacklisted Iranian entities from its network to exchange financial messages and transactional data across the world.
U.S.-based United Against Nuclear Iran, which has led a campaign to get businesses to leave the country, welcomed the news.
“We call on other banks around the world to follow Standard Chartered by pulling out of Iran, and completely cut off the regime’s access to international markets,” said Kristen Silverberg, a former U.S. ambassador to the European Union who was recently appointed to lead the group.