Major money exchange houses in the United Arab Emirates have stopped handling Iranian rials. Iran has largely been frozen out of the global banking system by US sanctions since last year. Washington has used anti-money laundering legislation to make it risky for banks around the world to do business with Iran, including trade financing.
In December, the US government requested Dubai-based Noor Islamic Bank into stopping the channeling of billions of dollars from Iranian oil sales through its accounts. Iranian businessmen continued to conduct some trade with Dubai, but now most of those houses have stopped doing rial business as well.
Mohamed al-Ansari, Chairman and Managing Director of Al Ansari Exchange, said that the weakness of the rial had made it too risky to handle the currency. “Most exchange companies have stopped dealing in Iranian rial mainly because of its devaluation in the last few months, as well as the regulations imposed by the US regulatory authorities on the financial sector,” he told the media. “As such, nobody would like to risk trading in the Iranian rial currency across UAE, as it would affect their business.”