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Iran to start accepting Russian Mir payment cards soon - Official

July 27, 2022 at 4:45 pm

Russian Mir payment system logo on a bank card in Moscow on 14 March 2022 [AFP/Getty Images]

Iran will soon start accepting payments made with Russia’s Mir bank cards, a top official was quoted by Russia’s RIA news agency as saying, making it the latest country to adopt the Russian-made alternative to Visa and MasterCard, Reuters reports.

“I think this payment system will be activated in Iran soon,” RIA quoted Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy, Medhi Safari, as saying on Wednesday.

Moscow has acted to forge close ties with Tehran since it sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on 24 February as the Kremlin, decried as a pariah in the West, attempts to build new economic and diplomatic partnerships elsewhere.

South Korea and Cuba have also recently started accepting Mir – which means both “peace” and “world” in Russian – and the United Arab Emirates intends to start accepting it soon. The cards also work in popular tourist destinations, Turkiye and Vietnam, and some former Soviet republics.

Both Russia and Iran are under heavy US and European Union sanctions that have blocked their access to key parts of the global financial infrastructure.

READ: What to expect after Putin’s visit to Tehran

The two are also working to create a rival to the SWIFT payments messaging service that underpins cross-border payments across the global economy, Safari said. Several Russian banks have been ejected from Belgium-based SWIFT since 24 February.

“Countries that want to de-dollarise their transactions must have a special system similar to SWIFT,” RIA quoted Safari as saying.

“The Iranian and Russian sides have each proposed an option … We have reached a very good agreement on the basis of which we can carry out currency transactions between the two countries.”

Russian cards issued by Visa and MasterCard stopped functioning overseas after the world’s two largest payment processing networks suspended operations in early March.