Mohammad-Reza Farzin, the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran

Iran's Chief Banker Announces Plans For Iranian Bank In Syria

Wednesday, 11/29/2023

The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran revealed plans to open an Iranian bank in Syria as the regime continues to prop up the crumbling Assad regime.

In a meeting with Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous in Damascus on Wednesday, Mohammad-Reza Farzin made the announcement as both nations grapple with severe economic challenges.

Iran, facing a persistent financial downturn since 2018 due to US sanctions following its withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear accord, has sought avenues to strengthen economic ties with Syria, which is in the throes of years of political and economic uncertainty and war.

Farzin also expressed Iran's intention to remove the dollar from economic and trade transactions between the two countries in the coming years.

Iran has been a significant financial supporter of Syria, spending tens of billions of dollars, a substantial portion of its constrained oil revenues, to sustain President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Estimates suggest that Iran has provided between $30 billion to over $50 billion in material aid to the government since 2011, a period during which Iran's annual oil revenues averaged between $20 billion to $40 billion.

Despite a decade-long effort to preserve the Syrian government, Iran holds a relatively small share of Syria's trade and has lost out to financially stronger players. The Revolutionary Guard, justifying its extensive involvement in the Syrian war, contends that trade and investment in Syria will eventually yield returns, compensating for the substantial financial and human costs Tehran has incurred to support the Assad regime, but so far it has not come true.

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