"Despite hopes of a new dawn for Iran's economy after nuclear-related sanctions were lifted, major Western banks are reluctant to do business with the Islamic republic for fear of US retribution. President Hassan Rouhani has said that to reach the target of eight-percent growth needed to modernise the industrial sector and relaunch the hobbled economy, Iran needs up to $50 billion in foreign investment every year. But without the big foreign banks, that looks impossible. "For the moment, the little European banks have agreed to work with us," said Parviz Aghili, head of the private Middle East Bank in Tehran. They include banks from Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium, he said without naming them. "But not a single medium-sized or big bank has so far agreed to do it," he added... The limited number of institutions that do deal with the Islamic republic include Raiffeisen Bank and Erste Bank from Austria, Mediobanca and Banco Popolare of Italy, Germany's EIH, KfW and AKA banks, Belgium's KBC, ING of the Netherlands and Turkey's Halk, according to a banking expert in Tehran. "These banks have established working relations with the Iranian banks to open letters of credit for fairly small sums of 10, 20 or 50 million dollars." But they lack the resources to finance big projects like the deal struck between Iran and European aircraft manufacturer Airbus for 118 airplanes, or oil and gas development projects, the expert said." (AFP, "Iran banking hobbled by Western reluctance to engage," 9/13/2016).
According to an email sent by KBC on April 5, 2016, they have decided to support “well-established customers .…… in their genuine trade with Iran, respecting all U.S. and EU regulation.” (Bloomberg, “Europe’s Banks Are Staying Out of Iran,” 5/2/2016).
KBC “confirmed … that they have started handling transactions on behalf of European clients doing business in Iran.” KBC stated that it had established correspondent relationships with “several state-owned and private Iranian banks.” (Financial Times, “Europe’s banks begin tentative return to Iran,” 4/3/2016).
KBC participated in a November 2015 seminar, “Doing Business in Iran.” (Flanders Today, “Flemish officials and companies gear up for business with Iran,” 2/24/2016).