Turkey rejects US bank request on Iran

A Turkish official has refused a US request to scrutinize and then suspend the activities of the Turkey-based Iran’s Bank Mellat.

“What binds Turkey are the resolutions of the UN and not US presidential decrees or Congressional decisions,” a Turkish diplomat told the Turkish Daily News.

US officials have told bankers around the world that Iran is funding terrorists and seeking nuclear technology. Banks such as UBS AG and Deutsche Bank AG have responded by ending – or severely reducing – their business with Iran.

However, in Ankara US requests have not been responded to in a similar way, according to officials.

Stating that foreign banks operate according to the regulations set by the current Banking Law and are inspected periodically, the official underlined that the conditions of suspending one bank’s operations are clear.

“Obviously we cannot move upon a third party’s requests,” he said.

Although some banks in Europe and Japan have bowed to US pressure, a host of analysts and diplomats believe that the move has proved futile.

They opine that the Bush administration’s controversial policy of slapping sanctions on Iranian banks is facing a critical challenge, as financial institutions in Russia, China, and much of the Middle East have declined to cut ties with Iranian banks.