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Can I send money to someone in Iran?

Is there a way to get around sanctions to send money to loved ones in Iran?

Unfortunately, Iran is currently heavily sanctioned by the US and a few other countries, making it hard to find a reliable way to send money to friends or loved ones residing in or visiting Iran. South Africa, however, has good trade relations with Iran and hasn’t imposed any sanctions on the country at the time of writing. This means that, while some money sending services may refuse to send money to Iran because of said sanctions, it is still possible to send money to Iran from South Africa.

Find out below what you need to know about sanctions when it comes to sending money to someone in Iran.

MUST READ: Why is it difficult to send money to Iran?

Because of sanctions in place, few money transfer companies can send money from South Africa to Iran. This is because many money transfer companies are situated in the US or countries that are part of the UN, which has sanctions that don’t allow any kind of financial transactions with Iran.

Your best bet for getting money to a loved one in Iran would be to send money through a bank transfer. If you’re currently residing in or visiting a country with sanctions against Iran and want to send money to another country without sanctions against Iran – like South Africa – and then pass those funds onto a recipient in Iran, you may face tough legal and financial consequences.

Sanctions and Iran

The US first imposed sanctions on Iran in 1979, after the Iranian revolution. Those sanctions have since been reinforced, with further sanctions added to strictly prohibit trade and investment in the country. The UN first sanctioned Iran in 2006, due to Iran’s refusal to give up its uranium enrichment program for nuclear weapons and working against the UN’s own sanctions. Further sanctions were added in 2013, related to natural gas trade and banking. These sanctions ban all transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, unless they’re authorised in advance.

While South African banks will handle a transfer to Iran for you, popular money transfer providers like Western Union and MoneyGram don’t offer their services to Iran. Even if you can find a money transfer provider willing to help you send money to Iran you will then need to be very careful about the purpose of the transfer.

There are several complex rules and regulations surrounding money transfers to Iran and there have been some highly publicised cases of people or companies unwittingly falling foul of the law.Back to top

How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Iran

Because of the complex regulations surrounding money transfers to Iran, you may need to take extra steps to find a bank or money transfer service that will facilitate the transaction for you. There are also other features that you should be considering when trying to transfer money to Iran from South Africa:

  • Exchange rate. This may not always be evident immediately, but you should not make a payment until the company you are using shows you what the exchange rate will be.
  • Pick up methods. With bitcoins, Abtid found that his family could convert the bitcoins to cash and have the Rial deposited into their bank account.
  • Reputation. You should only be looking at financial services that have an established reputation. With this type of transaction it may be easy to be taken advantage of.

Interested in sending money to another country? View our full list here.

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Tips for picking up cash in Iran

Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind to help you stay safe when picking up cash:

  • Phone ahead to confirm the agent’s location and opening hours.
  • Only visit an agent location in an area where you feel completely safe.
  • Ask a friend to accompany you.
  • Don’t show your cash in public, and never carry large sums of money for any longer than necessary.
  • If travelling alone, ask for assistance from a person in authority at your hotel.
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