By: Mir M.Hosseini
In Iran, banking in its traditional form used to be done at exchange offices known as Sarraf. The idea of a national bank came up with inauguration of the Imperial Bank of Persia in 1890. However, in Qajar times major businesses were run with concessions given to foreign countries. Unfortunately, the Qajar royal court was corrupt and under the influence of foreign states, mainly Britain and Russia. The victory of Constitutional Monarchy Movement created a parliamentary system which was effective in Iranian political system for only a short period of time. Yet again, first terms of Majlis approved several bills and drafts that passed into law; creating substantial changes in Iran.
When the government needed Majlis approval for a foreign loan, national sentiments which had become sensitive against foreign states were the primary reason which urged deputies to agree on major outlines of a national bank. Iranians desired a bank that could bring profit and prosperity to people and the country and could stream national resources into development, production, and business. Bazaar merchants and Sarrafs were among people who undertook an initial capital.
The bill regarding foundation of the national bank finally passed into law on May, 5, 1927. The detailed statute was completed by July, 5, 1928 and Bank Melli of Iran was inaugurated on September, 11, 1928 with a capital of 20,000,000 Rials.
Iranian state economy currently absorbs most financial resources including that of the banks. Money is channeled to special people with connections and ordinary Iranians are once again despised of basic rights. Bank Melli is currently one of 3 major Iranian banks under international sanctions imposed by the U.S. The US administration adopted an aggressive policy against Iran after the puppet Shah was toppled, the price is being paid by civilians of both nations.