Kerry seeks to soothe European bank nerves over Iran trade

London: US Secretary of State John Kerry told Europe’s top banks they have nothing to fear from resuming business with Iran, as long as they make proper checks on trade partners and pursue “legitimate business”.


European banks, some of which have been punished for breaking sanctions imposed on Iran, are sceptical it is now safe for them to restore trade ties with the country and have largely held back since the lifting of some restrictions in January.

“We want to make it clear that legitimate business, which is clear under the definition of the agreement, is available to banks,” Kerry said on Thursday during what is likely to be his last trip to London before November’s US election.

About 10 executives from leading European banks took part in the meeting, along with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, secretary of state for business Sajid Javid and Norman Lamont, trade envoy to Iran, a British official said.

British banks including Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered as well as some from other European countries attended, sources familiar with the matter said.