Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Iran to counter Bank Saderat blacklisting

United Press International:
Iran has taken measures to counter a U.S. decision to cut off the Iranian state-owned Bank Saderat from any dealings with the U.S. financial system.

Iran's Central Bank said in a statement Tuesday that "it drafted necessary and emergency laws to confront the U.S. move which were relayed to the various Iranian banks." READ MORE

The statement carried by Iranian news agency IRNA said: "Iran has already experienced such moves (by the U.S. administration) and harmful psychological acts, but the Central Bank and other banks across the country will continue their banking operations as usual."

IRNA quoted politicians and economists as contending that the positive outcome of the nuclear negotiations between the Secretary-General of the Higher National Security Council Ali Larijani and the European Union's Foreign Policy Commissioner Javier Solana was the reason for the U.S. decision, which is aimed at affecting the nuclear negotiations process with Iran.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced over the weekend that it had blacklisted Bank Saderat, one of Iran's largest banks, from having any links with U.S.-owned banks because of its "support for terrorism."

Stuart Levey, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said Bank Saderat facilitates "Iran's transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars to Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations each year."

"We will no longer allow a bank like Saderat to do business in the American financial system, even indirectly," Levey said.

According to the U.S. Treasury, the bank is one of Iran's largest, with some 3,400 branch offices.

The Treasury also said the bank had transferred funds to other "terrorist organizations" including Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.