Bankers in Paris and London have expressed surprise over an announcement made by Mohammad Jafar Mojarrad, vice-governor of Bank Markazi (central bank), that a sovereign Eurobond was to be issued this summer.

Speaking at a conference in Bahrain in mid-May, Mojarrad said a $300 million issue was planned, and that it was expected to take place between June and October, depending on market conditions. The statement follows Mojarrad’s announcement last October that Iran was preparing for a $300 million bond issue (MEED 29:10:99).

‘They are talking about it, but there is a big difference between talking and going ahead with a bond issue,’ says one senior London-based sovereign debt analyst. ‘There was greater urgency when oil prices were lower and to the best of my knowledge no issue is imminent.’

US credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Services has issued a foreign currency long-term rating of B2 to Iran, putting the country on the same level as Nicaragua, Turkmenistan and Honduras, among others. Standard & Poor’s, which only operates on a solicited basis, does not offer coverage on Iran.