Malaysian banks freeze accounts of Iranians
A number of Iranians in Malaysia have reported that Malaysian banks have frozen their accounts under the influence of US banking sanctions against Iran.
According to a diplomat from the Iranian embassy and several Iranian residents of Malaysia, in recent months, Malaysian banks have been freezing Iranian accounts in mass.
Behrang Samadi, a university professor residing in Malaysia is among those whose bank accounts have been frozen after 14 years. He told Reuters that the Malaysian banks are acting “more Catholic than the pope,” adding: “In Western countries, they have no problem with opening an account. They’re only sensitive about money transfers, especially high amounts.”
Despite President Trump’s decision to re-impose financial sanctions against Iran last year, Malaysia had kept good diplomatic relations with Iran. It is not yet clear whether these decisions by Malaysian banks are related to the recent discovery of an Iranian oil tanker near Malaysian coasts.
Almost 10000 Iranians live in Malaysia.
Many Iranians have told Reuters that CIRMB and RIHB have issued warnings about freezing their accounts to dozens of Iranians. Both banks have refused to offer any explanation for their decision.
President Rouhani’s chief of staff explained on Wednesday that the frozen accounts in Malaysia are due to US sanctions and said: “It is not just in Malaysia. The same thing has occurred in some other countries for the bank accounts of students. These are the type of problems that sanctions cause.”
Some Iranians have had problems paying tuition or hospital bills due to this decision.