News ID: 302798
Published: 0317 GMT May 05, 2021

Russia says ready to leave SWIFT, considering Iran’s Sepam

Russia says ready to leave SWIFT, considering Iran’s Sepam

Russia said it is preparing to leave US-dominated international payment system SWIFT and pairing with alternative systems, including Iran’s electronic financial messaging platform Sepam.

The decision announced by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova comes in the wake of a resolution passed recently by the European Parliament calling for Russia’s expulsion from the SWIFT financial network, Press TV reported.

In an interview with RT television network, Zakharova said while Russian authorities still assess the likelihood of being cut from the Western payment system, they are already working to reduce risks and possible damage.  

“So, as an alternative to SWIFT, the system of transferring financial communications of the Bank of Russia is considered,” she said.

“We study the options for pairing with foreign systems, such as European SEPA, Iranian Sepam, Chinese Cup and CIPS,” Zakharova added.

The Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) is a payment system which offers clearing and settlement services for participants in cross-border payments and trade in renminbi, China’s official currency.

China Union Pay (CUP) works like other online payment systems and has a significant financial market infrastructure in China.

Iran unveiled Sepam in October 2013, suggesting that members of the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) employ a homegrown system developed by the Central Bank of Iran to get around SWIFT.

The ACU, headquartered in Tehran, was established at the initiative of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in 1974. Its members include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Iran.

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