Norway allows Government Pension Fund Global to buy Iranian bonds

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund will be allowed to buy Iranian government bonds after the country’s finance ministry lifted a previous ban on the back of an international nuclear agreement with Iran in January.

The NOK6.9trn (€723bn) Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) had been barred from investing in Iranian government bonds since January 2014.

North Korea and Syria remain on the blacklist.

The decision, taken in consultation with the state department, was announced by the Norwegian ministry of finance yesterday.

It referenced the easing of sanctions after Iran met its initial obligations under the January agreement, and noted that remaining sanctions and restrictive measures against Iran were no longer considered to be extensive enough to maintain the exclusion.

The foreign ministry said the GPFG was “not a foreign policy instrument” and that it precluded investment in government bonds only in exceptional cases, where there were particularly extensive sanctions or other international initiatives Norway had joined. 

The GPFG has never held Iranian bonds, according to a spokesperson at NBIM, which manages the oil fund. 

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