Russia is taking part in developing a European counterpart of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), the European Commission’s press service said.
According to the EC's spokesperson, the purpose of the new platform is to ensure legitimate cash turnover with Iranian companies in spite of Washington’s sanctions against Tehran. The system is aimed at maintaining cooperation with the Islamic Republic in the oil, gas and financial sectors, as well as in trade, investment and transport, the Izvestia newspaper reported.
The parties to the nuclear deal, specifically, Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany, are involved in efforts to create a mechanism that would allow transactions with Iran to skirt US sanctions, the European Commission’s spokesperson told the paper. Other EU members have also been invited to join the venture.
The head of the department of stock markets and financial engineering of the Faculty of Finance and the Banking Business of RANEPA, former deputy chairman of the Central Bank of Russia Konstantin Korischenko, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the euro-SWIFT system can be used by Russia as an alternative if it is disconnected due to sanctions, however, it will depend on whether the EU countries decide to join the U.S. anti-Russian sanctions.
"In general, the EU countries are creating an alternative payment system. It may be an alternative for Russia, but everything depends on whether the European regulator will impose any sanctions on Russian financial institutions. That is, the main thing is the decision of the relevant state bodies of Europe or the U.S.," Konstantin Korishchenko stressed.
The professor at the department of the stock market and investments at the Higher School of Economics, Alexander Abramov, in turn, noted that the introduction of the European analogue of SWIFT will require so much time that tension around Iran may come to an end by this time. "Now they consider it more as a kind of backup option that the EU still needs. Developing a SWIFT standard is not a fundamentally difficult task, it can be solved, but now it’s not clear whether the project will eventually be implemented or not," he said.
The economist agreed that the euro-SWIFT may not protect Russia from sanctions. "If it comes to the situation of disconnecting Russia from SWIFT, our European partners will think what to do in this case, since maintaining such contacts with Russia should be somehow agreed with the U.S. Developing a SWIFT standard is almost free and not very difficult work. But if the United States disconnects Russia from the common system, it will be impossible to predict the behavior of European partners, because they will be under strong pressure from Washington," Alexander Abramov warned.