By Joseph Sipalan
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Hit by U.S. sanctions that make it difficult to get Western insurers from covering Iranian exports, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday proposed setting up a transport insurance mechanism exclusively for Muslim nations.
Iran‘s oil-reliant economy has been hit badly since President Donald Trump last year pulled the United States out of a 2015 multinational nuclear deal with Tehran and reimposed sanctions.
At an Islamic summit in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, Rouhani said it was time for the Muslim world to look inwards, including in insurance.
“We understand that today, many of our economic transactions and activities are dependent on foreign insurance, the insurance coming from big countries,” he said in a speech that was translated into English.
“This is why we, as Muslim countries, (if) we are able to cooperate in order to set up an insurance, particularly and exclusively for Muslim states, particularly in transport and transit, it will save us from dependence on foreigners.”
Ships need various forms of insurance, including annual war-risk cover as well as an additional ‘breach’ premium when entering high-risk areas.
In the banking sector, Rouhani said Muslim countries should transact in their own currencies, a view that was supported by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
“We have to free bilateral trade from foreign exchange pressure,” Erdogan said at the summit. “Instead of doing trade with foreign currency we would like to do foreign trade with our national currencies.”
(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; editing by Jason Neely)