Iran is looking to join Russia's Mir card payment system

Monday 5 September 2022 12:51 CET | News

The Central Bank of Iran has entered negotiations to join Russia’s Mir card payment system in order to improve regional trade and bypass US sanctions.


Officials from Iran Central Bank cited by revealed that their collaboration with Russia would enable financial transactions between the two countries via Mir. Building on this, Iran could transfer money with other member countries via this system in the future.

The main candidates for these money transfer partnerships are countries that Iran has a Free Trade Agreement with, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, all of which are members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

An alternative to SWIFT, Mir is supported by Russia’s SPFS payment system. There are more than 100 million Mir cards in circulation, about one-third of the total market share, thanks to mandates for use by civil servants and pensioners. Moreover, the Mir Pay digital wallet was launched in 2019 and continues to operate on Android devices.

Iran’s relationship with Russia and the West

According to the Russian Federal Customs Service, trade turnover between Iran and Russia reached USD 4.035 billion in 2021, which represents an 81.7% increase when compared to the previous year.

So far in 2022, Russia’s exports to Iran hit USD 3.068 billion while Russian imports from Iran reached USD 967.3 million, a 21.4% increase when compared to 2021.

According to, Iran is looking to improve its relationship with the West. In the context of the Abraham Accords and the relative liberalisation of Israel’s trade relations in the Middle East, other countries might consider improving their trading and investment relationships with Western Asian countries, Iran included.


The Central Bank of Iran has entered negotiations to join Russia’s Mir card payment system in order to improve regional trade and bypass US sanctions.


What other countries use Mir?

Other countries that have adopted Mir cards and payments include Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkey. 
In Turkey’s case, in August 2022, five Turkish banks adopted Russia’s Mir payments system. Moreover, according to the Washington Post, Russia requested that several state-owned Turkish banks allow correspondent accounts for Russia’s biggest banks and that Russian industrial producers be allowed to operate out of free economic zones in Turkey.

Nigeria’s ambassador to Russia, Abdullahi Shehu, has also said that Nigeria and Russia are discussing the possibility of using Mir cards in the African country.

In August 2022, the Russian and Indian Governments have gotten closer to an agreement to have cards based on Russia’s Mir payment system be accepted at ATMs and POS in India.

In the same month, in China, the Credit Bank of Moscow and Bank DOM.FR announced that they are preparing to issue UnionPay cards starting with Q1 2023. DOM.RF plans to start issuing UnionPay cards that will be co-branded with the existing Russian Mir cards.

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Keywords: online payments, payment processing, payments , payment processor
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: Central Bank of Iran
Countries: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
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