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US sanctions hit Iranian students seeking bank accounts in Europe

While Europe says it remains committed to the nuclear deal with Iran, the US withdrawal from the accord has created overcompliance with sanctions among banks that has made life difficult for Iranian students in Europe; however, Iranian students in the United States tell Al-Monitor they have not experienced such difficulties.
CaixaBank's new headquarters in Valencia are pictured after the entity announced during the presentation of the 2017 third quarter results that it will stay definitely in Valencia, Spain, October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Heino Kalis - RC111F80FF60

The reimposition of US sanctions on Iran has created many difficulties for Iranian students who are studying abroad — including in Europe. The root of these hardships seems to be European companies’ fear of potential US penalties.

Sima is an Iranian student pursuing a doctorate in mechanical engineering who traveled to Spain in September to take part in a one-year research program. She has not yet been able to open a bank account in the country, and told Al-Monitor she has had to hide the money she brought with her from Iran in her bag and take it wherever she goes in Madrid. Other Iranian students have faced similar difficulties in Europe; since the United States reimposed sanctions against Iran last year, European banks seem to have increasingly imposed restrictions on Iranian students — including refusing to open accounts.

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