May 9 (UPI) -- As Iran looks to open doors to foreign energy companies, the Austrian envoy to Tehran said banking channels needed to normalize, state media reported.
Friedrich Stift, the Austrian envoy, was quoted in the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying bilateral economic exchanges were required for improved trade relations.
"We are highly hopeful about normalizing banking and trade ties with Iran in the near future and we have been through many challenges in this way so far," he said. "Austria wants expansion of trade ties with Iran and makes its utmost efforts to normalize banking relations with Tehran."
Iran received relief from international sanctions after its compliance with a multilateral nuclear agreement was confirmed in January 2016. Restrictions on the nation's banks, however, make direct exchanges with Iran complicated. Last month, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said foreign companies were welcome to invest in Iran to the fullest extent possible under current laws.
Speaking this week at the International Monetary Fund, Gholam Ali Kamyab, a vice governor at the Central Bank of Iran, complained bilateral financial exchanges "are not rapid enough yet."
Austrian energy company OMV was one of the early movers back into the Iranian energy sector among European companies. The company in January signed new arrangements for potential work with Iran's Dana Energy Co., a player in exploration and development.
The Iranian Oil Ministry includes OMV on a list of 29 foreign oil and gas companies that are qualified to take part in any upcoming tenders for exploration and production.