Saturday, June 24, 2006

US Treasury Working To Block Funding For Iran's Terror, Nukes

Benton Ives-Halperin, Dow Jones Newswires:
The U.S. government will use "all instruments of national power," to combat Iran's sponsorship of terrorism, a Treasury official said Thursday. In testimony submitted to the Senate Banking Committee, Assistant Secretary for Terrorism Finance Patrick O'Brien said the Treasury Department is "focused on the support networks, trying to identify and sever the lines of support that fuel terrorist activities."

Moreover, O'Brien said the U.S. government is working to block funding for Iran's nuclear ambitions and its sponsorship of terrorist activities in places such as Lebanon and Iraq. READ MORE

"We are working steadily with the interagency community to target the networks that move these funds and prevent them from abusing the integrity of the world's financial system," the assistant secretary said.

Since June 2005, Treasury has designated six Iranian entities, including government agencies and state-owned companies, for their support of weapons of mass destruction programs. The U.S. freezes any assets of a designated entity and bars it from any transactions with a U.S. person.

The assistant secretary also noted that many private sector companies are reconsidering their involvement with Iran.

"The words and signals coming out of Iran have led observers to worry about Iran as an investment arena and have prompted reputable members of the international financial community to curtail or cut ties with Iran altogether," O'Brien said.

O'Brien gave his testimony at a hearing on reauthorization of the 10-year-old Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which prohibits U.S. companies from operating in the Islamic nation and allows the U.S. to impose sanctions on foreign companies with significant investments there.

-By Benton Ives-Halperin, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9255;